Forming Friendships

Scientists once thought that very young children were only capable of engaging in “parallel play,” and not building more meaningful social bonds. However, research now demonstrates that children as young as 12 months can actually begin forming friendships. Find this week’s article here:

“In a very fundamental way, young toddlers are drawn to other kids who like the same things that they do, even if it's something as simple as banging on a table, ‘and that's the root of building a friendship,’ says Sally Goldberg, PhD.”

Of course, early childhood friendships have some limitations. Crawlers and toddlers are still developing their sense of self and understanding of the world around them. The article presents reasonable expectations for play date activities and describes how young friendships blossom as children mature.

“Older toddlers and preschoolers have the emotional and cognitive skills to show real affection for other kids and to prefer one child to another.”

Early friendships provide formative experiences that lead to the development of healthy social abilities throughout childhood and life. We love seeing bonds form in Blooming Bébé classes and continuing outside of the classroom. Have you noticed your little one begin to show preference for any of their friends? Have they started to demonstrate loyalty and empathy?


Baer, Deborah. (April 2005). The Ups and Downs of Toddler Relationships