4
Making Friends

How reassuring it is to find others who are like ourselves. Human beings are social creatures, and our six- and seven-year-olds are now grappling with the complicated business of making friends with other children. Now that they are spending more time away from their families, their peer group is becoming more influential in defining who they are. So it is that in a child's mind, [Who am I like?] is close to the question of [Who do I like?] In other words, children are looking for acceptance of themselves when they are seeking out friends. They need to check out their emerging identities with reference to other children. Popular children tend to be those who are selfassured, attractive and clever or have other desirable characteristics, and this can be damaging to children who feel they lack these qualities. At this age, friendships are likely to have their ups and downs. In fact adult attention and mediation are still needed by most six- and seven-year-olds to help them to develop satisfying ways of relating to each other. It will take them a long time to achieve a more mature basis for friendship based on give and take, empathy and respect for differences, but in the meantime it is helpful to have plenty of opportunities for practice.


Circle time

Schools make an active contribution to developing the social skills which children will need in order to get along with each other. Circle time aims to offer children greater understanding of social relationships and some simple strategies for managing conflict. Family life offers rich opportunities to learn about such matters as [give and take], sharing and respect for others, but, as we have seen in earlier chapters, a capacity to understand other people's

-41-

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Understanding 6-7-Year-Olds
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Understanding Your Child Series 2
  • Title Page 3
  • Contents 5
  • Acknowledgements 7
  • Foreword 9
  • Introduction 11
  • 1: A Changing Sense of Self 15
  • 2: A Place in the Family 23
  • 3: The Experience of School 31
  • 4: Making Friends 41
  • 5: Reading for Meaning 51
  • 6: Confusions and Anxieties 59
  • Conclusion: Celebrating Achievement and Moving on 69
  • Further Reading 73
  • Helpful Organizations 75
  • Index 77
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