MomTalk.com January 23, 2021:   The women's magazine for moms about children, family, health, home, fashion, careers, marriage & more

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How Many Friends Are Enough?


By Vanessa Voltolina

Four-year-old Ryan McLynn of Hopewell Junction, N.Y., has no problem making friends. "Ryan will just go up to other kids on the playground and ask 'do you want to play with me?'" says mom Susan. But his sister, Kerry Ann, was always very cautious making social connections. "When Kerry Ann was a toddler, she would only be friends with kids who befriended her first -- and she definitely wouldn't initiate it."

Parents of shy, quiet or reserved toddlers worry that their kids may grow up to be loners or lack a social life. But it's important to remember that toddlers have different temperaments and move at different social speeds. While an outgoing toddler will be happy at the center of a large friend group, a quieter child will likely have fewer friends and may take longer to make them. In that respect, "toddlers are very much like adults," says Kim Whaley, PhD, associate professor of Human Development and Family Science at Ohio State University.

It doesn't matter how many friends your child is comfortable making, as long as he has the ability to make at least one. The best way for you to help boost his social skills is to understand his particular style and guide him with that in mind.
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Categories: Toddlers, Pre-Schoolers, Children,

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