Creative Child

Are Preschool Friendships Real?

by Deborah Song

Preschool friendships may be formed at a young age but they aren’t trite. Some preschoolers, especially those of working parents, may spend as much time at school with their classmates as they do at home. So when the time comes to transition to the much bigger world of kindergarten, the experience can be bewildering. The biggest challenge of all can come in the form of losing a best friend, as I recently learned.

My 5 year-old daughter had a wonderful preschool experience with amazing teachers at a stellar school. Perhaps best of all, were the amazing friendships she formed. For the past three years, she spent several hours a day, five days a week with her school friends. Not to mention the many hours spent celebrating birthdays, holidays and playdates outside of school.

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But like all good things, this too came to a screeching halt when each was forced to journey on to their respective kindergartens. I knew the transition would be hard but I underestimated just how difficult the mourning process would be for her – and me. It’s been heartbreaking to watch my daughter miss her best friend and roam around school the first two weeks of kindergarten alone because she simply refused to play with anyone else.

But we’ve discovered some tips and insights that have helped her cope and grow stronger from the experience. Here are 5 ideas for helping your children make the transition.

1. Remind your child the old friends are still around.

Try to arrange opportunities where your child can still see her previous friends. It might be tempting to sever ties completely and rip off the band-aid so to speak, but consider the alternative. For one, reuniting and nurturing the friendships of your little one will help them form a positive life view that transitions and moves don’t mean friendships are terminal. Plus, it will teach them about the science of friendships at an early age. If you nurture it, it will grow.

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Moreover, having a group of friends outside of their immediate school can also be a source of great confidence for your child. Having a diverse group of friends is the first line of defense against being victimized by bullying, which happens as early as kindergarten.

More tips continued on the next page...

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