No empathy to talk of, egocentric to say the least. The only part of give-and-take they can relate to is “take”. But with time and practice they will learn the basics of how to be a good friend. And you can help.
even work out their disagreements. They will learn what it means to be a friend.
You can help a little on the way:
- You’re your kid’s first best friend. So when you’re playing, encourage sharing and sticking to the rules. Don’t always be second, don’t always lose. Be a real friend!
- Socialize with others often and regularly - offer plenty of opportunities for practice. Start one on one, and stay away from threes (it just doesn’t work…). And keep the play dates short.
- Don’t expect anything more than parallel play at this age. But this is about more than just playing alongside each other. At a glance it looks like they are absorbed in their own worlds. But if you look closer you can see them observing, maybe imitating and of course grabbing - that is the early stage of cooperative play.
- Encourage cooperative games like ball-playing, building with bricks, tag, and hide-and-seek. Do things that are suitable for doing together like baking and laying
- No pressure. There’s no point, and can actually back-fire. Give time and space for your toddler to discover the beauty of friendship.