How can I help my only child make friends at preschool?
Making friends takes practice and time. We are not born knowing how and why to share. Particularly for singletons, sharing takes practice. The comforting thing to remember is that connections with others can be nurtured, and skills can be learned at any age. These skills involve language, self-control and cognitive abilities that develop over time. Your child possesses skills and coping mechanisms that influence interaction with classmates.
Many of your child's classmates may have had prior experience in child care settings, where sharing issues were addressed earlier, consistently. As children grow, teachers and parents tend to sit back and let children work out sharing issues for themselves, intervening only when necessary. If you notice your daughter struggling with certain situations, try to focus on alternatives. For example, you may agree that it is hard to give a peer a turn in the dramatic play area, but remind her that hitting or crying are not acceptable. You can redirect her to another area, giving her a limited choice as to where she plays.
During dinner or another quiet time, ask her to talk about the children in her class. You may be surprised by how much she knows about her classmates. When she mentions something that is similar to her own interests or abilities, comment on that. You will help her see the connections she can make when she's back in school. Her teachers will likely have some insight into the situation with other children and may help you feel much better about your daughter's development as a friend and an individual.