Good friends provide us with support from childhood through adulthood. It takes practice to learn how to be a good friend ― practice at being kind, supportive, trustworthy and a good listener. These are skills kids can begin to learn at an early age. When two-year-olds engage with peers it typically involves playing side-by-side with similar toys. But even at this young age, they can begin to understand the concept of taking turns with toys or playground equipment and responding to the feelings of others. These are building blocks for future friendships!
Social Skills Teaching Your Two-Year-Old Early Friendship Skills
Help your little one navigate early friendships:
Talk About Friendship
Help children draw the connection between their kind, cooperative behavior and friendship. For young children, this might sound like, "Can you share your blocks with your friends? It's nice to share with friends"; "You gave your friend a hug when she was crying! That helped her feel better"; or "Let's help our friends clean up before we go home ― it's nice to help our friends." As the Daniel Tiger song reminds us, "Friends help each other. Yes they do, it's true."
Playdates are not only fun, they are also a great opportunity for young children to practice friendship skills as they learn how to share toys, take turns, cooperate and work through problems that inevitably arise. While young kids need supervision, make sure you also give them room to figure out how to play independently, using their own imagination.
Playing with Others!
Playing a game of 'hot potato' and talking about how it felt to win or lose each round can help your child develop good sportsmanship skills.Do This Activity
Be Sensitive to Temperament
A child's basic temperament is hard-wired. Some children are more cautious than others, eager to observe before diving in. Some children are more comfortable with big groups and new social settings. If your child is on the introverted side of the scale, they might need support in learning how to interject themselves into a group at the park, and they may prefer smaller playdates to big group activities. If your child is on the extroverted side of the scale, they may need reminders about reaching out and listening to the ideas of children who are less bold about speaking up. And all children need alone time sometimes to wind down and enjoy their own thoughts.
Practice Being a Good Friend with Daniel Tiger
Through imagination, creativity and music, Daniel and his friends learn key social skills using strategies grounded in the teachings of Mister Rogers.Find Activities
Activity Finder: Learn With Your Two-Year-Old
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Your child can identify facial expressions and participate in a "parade of feelings" to practice naming emotions.
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PBS Parents Play & Learn
Designed specifically with parents in mind, this app provides more than a dozen math and literacy games that parents can play with their kids. Each game builds on the natural curiosity of children and is themed around a familiar location like the garden or grocery store.
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Go! George Go!
George needs to deliver all the ice cream before it melts. Your child can use arrows to create the shortest route for George to travel for his delivery.