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Friendships at Four

Emma is starting school in September and I feel like we’ve entered a ‘new phase’. She’s been attending a local nursery for the past 3 years and as luck would have it, 15 of the those nursery children are going to the same school with 7 of them in her class. So we’ve kind of lucked out. But I’ve really noticed lately a change in the friendships and I’m sure this is just a sign of things to come in primary school.

Lately Emma tells me often “this person said they don’t like me anymore and we’re not friends”…the usual kid stuff that I’m sure happens all the time in their pre-school group. But the more I see Emma with her friends together, the more I realise it can be down to insecurity and a little power play. It’s clear that some characters are leading more than others, and some are feeling a little left out and confused as to who their close friends are.

Emma has this little buddy who she’s been close with since she started nursery. Emma was very shy when she joined and this girl has a very similar temperant so they naturally got to know each other. But as they grew up, we went through little phases where her friend would branch out and get to know others and this would upset Emma. I think this is natural, and eventually Emma did the same once her confidence increased…and now they have returned to being the best of friends again.

But now with our next transition phase ahead, I can see that Emma’s buddy is her safety blanket. She knows where she is with her, they rarely have disagreements and play really nicely together. In the meantime we continue to hang out with other friends of hers too and one thing I notice so much is how much easier one-on-one playdates are compared to group ones. Maybe that’s just girls, or maybe it’s their age where they are figuring everything out.

Anyway…friendship at four years old is not as simple as I thought it would be. But then looking back on my relationships with friends, has it ever been straightforward? Nope! So I’m sure there is a lot of navigating and learning to be done.

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