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My lil’ girl comes back everyday from pre-school with a ton of stories about her friends – and that’s what she calls them “my friends”. Everyday, I hear all about her exciting adventures with them – how they played, fought, held hands, sang, and sometimes the stories aren’t even real – she uses her young, imaginative mind to make up fantasies about what she and her friends did together at school.

I’m so glad my daughter is learning to make friends and become social. She’s learning how to share, interact, and become part of a bigger picture other than the one she sees at home, with just her daddy and mommy. She’s also becoming independent and her personality is already starting to show – whether your toddler will become a follower or a leader, an introvert or extrovert, and other aspects of their future are being formed. Sometimes, she fights with her friends, sometimes she’s being bullied, sometimes she’s the bully herself. Let your toddlers work these issues among themselves and figure out how to cope with these small problems on their own.

Friends are important in life – even from such a young age. Some kids will make friends naturally without much difficulty, while for other kids this will be a gradual process. But mommies can help. Offer them guidance when they need it and give them opportunities to play and make friends with kids their age, even when they’re not at school. Arrange play dates for your lil’ ones, even take them out to the park and encourage them to play with other kids they don’t know. These small steps will help your toddler grow to become stronger, less shy, and more able to interact with older kids once they’re at school.