Close relationships are foundational to every human being. People make friends in various ways throughout their life. You may have shared your proudest moments with your office friends or spent memorable weekends with your neighbourhood peers. Furthermore, many individuals have the fondest memories of their childhood friends.
For children, friends become a significant part of growing up. They contribute to their social and emotional development until their older years. An early childhood education centre can introduce your child to kids of roughly the same age. Together, these children create a bond while playing and learning about many things in the world. Many studies show positive correlations of these relationships to your child’s growth. Here are the benefits of play and friendship in early childhood:
Learn About Emotional Regulation
Emotional regulation in children means their ability to manage their reactions and behavior towards the things around them. For individual tasks that require focus and patience, children mostly learn from the example of their parents. However, as children grow up, they understand that the world is largely about people’s interactions. Many emotions come in response to another person, such as gratitude, frustration, embarrassment, and annoyance, to name a few.
Play, especially social play, introduces the various emotions mentioned above. Toddlers do very well when they individually play with blocks, cars, or dolls. When they play with others, they feel new emotions which may fall somewhere between ‘fun’ or ‘frustration’. These situations, however, are the best time to introduce them to self-regulation. You can help them define a particular emotion and guide them on resolving it. It is important to encourage emotional expressiveness, which is the beginning of valuable social interactions. When they learn about emotions early, they will grow up to be well-adjusted adults.
Develop Their Social Skills
Social skills in toddlers develop through interactions with their primary caregivers, teachers, and each other. While they receive guidance from adults, they also learn many things from their classmates. In an early childhood education centre, their classmates become their playmates. Together, they can learn and improve values such as sharing, listening, cooperating, and waiting for their turn.
Children around 3-4 years old begin to understand the meaning of a group and try to manage it between themselves. For example, they decide what role each of them will have in costume play. They negotiate in their simple way who gets to play with a particular toy or read a specific book. Most of the time, children need help in sorting these issues out. You can help them by walking them through the situation so they can understand fairer options.
From learning about new emotions to cooperating with a group, many opportunities for social learning are brought about by play and friendships. When children have learned to identify their own emotions, they get a sense that every person has their own emotions as well. During play, children share ideas and reach compromises with each other. They listen more and take in cues which are aspects of empathy.
Empathy builds deeper friendships, and these close relationships subsequently build a well-rounded individual. Early childhood friendships increase the child’s sense of belonging and higher self-esteem. Thus, they can cope better with stress and less likely to be depressed. Friendships that begin in childhood may or may not last until adulthood due to changing addresses or growing different interests through time. However, Its positive cognitive and emotional effects last until adulthood.