I love to watch two small toddler or preschool friends greet each other with big bear hugs. It’s so sweet. Did you know that these early friendships can also promote important social and emotional development? Though some friendships can start as early as 30 months, it is more common to see early friendships emerging with three and four-year-olds. Some benefits of these relationships include:
• learning the concept of give and take
• developing greater confidence
• building self-esteem
• developing empathy
• gaining a broader understanding of the world around them
Rhonda Little, a teacher at Central Child Development Center in Kannapolis, gave me a wonderful example of the lasting impact of some early childhood friendships. Her brother, she tells me, met his best friend in Kindergarten. Now adults, one is a police officer and the other an architect, they have maintained their early friendship through many live changing experiences and currently get together at least once a week.
My best friend is named Janice Todd. She was my neighbor growing up. We can go a year or two without seeing each other in person, yet we can pick up a conversation as if we’d seen each other the day before. Do you have a truly great friend from childhood?
Katherine Generaux, Community Inclusion Director