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Friendships & Socialization Skills

As friendships are developing between the children and with Aunty Gel & Uncle Bison I wanted to sit and share a few thoughts with you..

I want to acknowledge what a major life transition starting daycare is for both young children and their families.  I also want to congratulate you all (parents and children) – for taking that big step because there are many benefits to being in daycare.  Whether your child has to be in daycare while you are working or is there simply to give you some needed free time – you are helping him/her grow into a well rounded and happy child.  And, all of these daycare experiences combined will prepare your child for his/her first real school (kindergarten) experience.

As parents, our hearts melt when we witness affection between children and I think that is because we know it’s fundamental to all good human relationships.  Establishing relationships with other adults and children is one of the major developmental tasks of early childhood and it really has been my pleasure watching & helping these friendships bloom and getting to know each child.

The bonds that children develop with important peers in their lives (friendships), bring pleasure, comfort, sometimes distress, and almost always important opportunities to learn and develop in a social world.  Friends, even in the toddler stage, can help children feel good about themselves, adapt more easily to childcare settings and build self confidence.

As caregivers we play a role in helping young children understand social behavior and form satisfying relationships.  Our challenge is to learn how to help each child develop into a socially-competent person who can express his/her own feelings, empathize with others’ feelings, and be cooperative, generous and kind. 

Never underestimate the power of play when it comes to teaching young children how to get along with each other. Children learn from other children & so congratulations to you parents – for taking that huge leap and enrolling your child in daycare!  A daycare environment like Ka Hana Pono Daycare gives young children plenty of opportunities for play and interaction among themselves. To encourage growing friendships at this age, we provide a healthy balance of freedom, guidance and support.   In addition to these socialization skills, our program also provides the opportunity for your child to learn the standard pre-school basics such as the alphabet, numbers, colors and shapes + lots of music and art time!!

All of the children are going through the same thing – getting to know each other, getting to know their daycare, getting to know Aunty Gel and Uncle Bison, missing their parents, and realizing that their school is a special place – where we are all friends here and we all love each other.  Whenever an apology is necessary this group of children are quick to give a hug, apologize, and continue being friends and playing.  I am super happy to say that we are having no major behavior issues (no aggression, pushing, biting, etc…). 

Below are some of the socialization concepts that your child is learning:

· SELF-CONTROL

I have to thank my great-grandma for teaching me the value in patience (smile).  It takes a lot of patience on a caregivers part to help children develop the ability to control their feelings and consider the rights of others – and we are very happy to exercise the practice of patience and to communicate with each child.

For example, if a child is having a hard time waiting for a turn on the swing, we can talk about it with her rather than simply repeating the rule, “You have to wait until Rosie is done.” It is so reassuring to a child when an adult says something like, “I know you’ve been waiting a long time and you’re super excited for your turn, but you’ll need to wait until Rosie is done. Maybe you can ride the bike  while you’re waiting.”

· SHARING/GENEROSITY

Sharing makes you and your friend(s) feel good. This week we’ve been talking about being generous and practicing acts of generosity like saying yes when another child asks if they can play with the toy you have or by inviting that child to play with you or by offering a toy to another child when you are done with it.

It is important to be patient with young children as they learn (and repeatedly forget) and then relearn the value of sharing.

· EMPATHY

If you push a friend down or hurt their feelings– help them up, give them a hug and apologize.  We do not force the children to apologize to each other or to hug – but we do encourage it and for the most part the children do it without our even asking now.

If you take a toy away from another child it will make that child feel sad.  You can ask nicely if you can use it and if the child says no then you can wait your turn and you will be next.  (Here, it is very important to make sure that the child who is waiting is next & that the child who had the toy first  is the one to give the toy to the child who has been waiting). You can also say something like “I wouldn’t let anyone take a toy away from you and please don’t take that toy away from Jacob; why don’t we play with these motorcycles until it’s your turn”.

· COOPERATION/TEAMWORK

Clean up time is a shared responsibility between children & caregivers and we have fun helping each other clean up so we can move on to the next activity.  

Children love it when an adult has a “problem” (in this example the problem is the messy classroom preventing us from moving to a new activity) – and then everyone is encouraged to pitch in and help solve it.

· FAIRNESS

All children want to be treated fairly but they don’t always understand how to treat others the same way.

One way that I’ve found effective to teach fairness is to explain what a particular rule is to a child and how it applies to him as well as to others, emphasizing that his/ her rights will be respected, too.   For example, rather than saying “There’s no hitting here,” we explain, “I won’t let anyone hurt you and I won’t let you hurt anyone either.”

I hope this note was helpful.  Please don’t hesitate to call or email anytime you have questions, suggestions or concerns.  Thanks so much.

Aloha & Malama,

Angelica Friedmann

Ka Hana Pono Daycare

Director & Teacher

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66-434 KAMEHAMEHA HWY COTTAGES 3 & 4, HALEIWA, HAWAII 96712

WAIALUA COMMUNITY ASSOCIATION