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Building Friendship Skills

Helping your child develop good friendship skills

By National Day Nurseries Association (NDNA)

How can my child help build friendships at nursery?

Babies, enjoy playing alongside each other. However, as they progress into the toddler room and then pre-school, you will notice that they start playing with other children and will eventually develop strong friendships with others who share things in common with.

Some children might find playing with friends more difficult. To help your child develop their friendship skills at home, as well as playing along side your child, you could also organise a short play date.

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    Your Special Educational Needs Co-Ordinator at nursery can offer further suggestions about how to develop play at a pace that’s right for your child

    What are some tips for a great play date?

    • Put away the toys that are precious to your child and decide on ones that they are happy to share.
    • Set up games for toddlers so they can play side by side and don’t have to take turns, for example paints, dolls or cars.
    • Set up lots of opportunities for older children to interact together and use their imagination, such as dressing up, farm yard toys or a game of football.
    • Stay with children while they start playing, showing how to share, take turns and be kind to each other. Make sure they are happy playing together before you take a step back.
    • Stay within eyesight so that you can always see and hear them play. Step in quickly if play gets rough or if children need support to settle disagreements.

    Download a printable version

    About the contributor

    NDNA partnered with Acamar Films, producer of the award-winning preschool series Bing, to bring parents some helpful tips and suggestions to support them during the ups and downs of children’s transitions.

    NDNA are the national membership organisation and the voice of day nurseries in the UK: the people behind the people who care, and champion the best for our children. By providing early years training, advice and guidance, we give your nursery the edge, an advantage that makes it the best it can be.

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