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Supporting Development

Playing With Other Children

Many parents and carers worry about their child making friends. Children don’t really start playing ‘together’ until they are about two and a half. Until then they play near each other rather than with each other. Friendship skills are tricky to learn and little children are just beginners.

All children are different and have different experiences;

  • Some children will come from loud busy families.
  • Some will have been going to nursery for a while.
  • Others may not have spent much time away from their parents.

In addition all of us have different personalities and levels of confidence. Some children will want to take friendship making more slowly than others. Try not to worry; children have plenty of time to learn how to be friends. There are some ways you can help your child gain confidence around other children.


Things You Can Do To Help

  • Give your child lot of chances to be around other children; either with family, friends or at the local park. (Don’t worry if they just like to watch).
  • Practice turn taking in games. Take turns in choosing what to do or play next.
  • Help them understand how they make other people feel good and how they might make people feel sad –this is an important part of being a good friend.
  • Let them try and work out any disagreements themselves.
  • Set aside time to chat together without distractions. This develops social skills and keeps you in touch with what is happening in your child’s life.

Who can Help?

Remember all children are different but if you are worried speak to your child's nursery or early years setting, they will be happy to talk to you about how best to support your child. If you are still worried, contact Just One Number to talk to a health professional for advice and support.

You can contact the Healthy Child Programme by calling Just One Number on 0300 300 0123 or texting Parentline on 07520 631590. Our opening hours are 8am-6pm Monday-Friday (excluding bank holidays) and 9am-1pm on Saturdays.

If you are 11-19 you can text Chathealth on 07480 635060 for confidential advice from one of the Healthy Child Programme team.

To speak to other Norfolk parents and carers, you can join our online community forum below.

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