Most of the time, children under five are happy to play together and will usually need very little encouragement to make friends. But what if your child has just started nursery and is finding socializing a struggle - What can you do to help?
Even if they cry at drop-off time, your child may well behave very differently once you've left the nursery. The child who clings to mummy's leg and cries when you leave will probably be happily stacking bricks five minutes later.
Ask the nursery staff about how your child plays and who he normally plays with, so you can talk to him about his friends at home. A good nursery will want both you and your child to be happy so do ask any questions you feel you need to.
Children of this age will often bounce around between groups of friends. Get to know the children your child does mix with by inviting their nursery chums for play dates or birthday parties.
If your pre-schooler doesn't seem to like playing with others, remember that some children at this age still prefer parallel play, where they play alongside another child, more than actually getting stuck in and playing another person.
Having a child often brings back memories of how we were as children, and any insecurity we have about friendships can resurface. We all want our children to feel happy and secure. No-one likes to think of their child struggling to make friends. No-one wants their child to be the one that's left alone when everyone else pairs off.
It's easy to see children's relationships from an adult point of view. However, young children's friendships are often very transient, and their best mate may change each week.
And what if they make friends that you're not sure about? Just remember that when you think a child is a negative influence on yours, its mother may welcome your child as a civilizing influence. Part of growing up is to learn how to interact with a variety of people. Your child will benefit from mixing with a variety of people and learning that every family is different.
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