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Babies can start to show preferences for certain people from just 6 weeks old. And by always responding to your wee one in a kind, interested way, you're helping them learn the skills they need to make friends in the future. 

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When will my baby start to make friends?

You'll probably notice that your baby will begin to express preferences for certain people from an early age, and will show delight when they see them. You might see these preferences as young as 6 weeks. By about 6 months you should definitely see your baby taking a stronger interest in other children.

Friendships usually develop when children are around 4 years old. Building a friendship takes emotional skills, social skills and some self-control. By consistently responding to your wee one in a kind and empathetic way you’ll be developing their ability to understand themselves, and understand and be empathetic towards others. It’s a bit like watering a seed – if you keep on watering it, it’ll eventually grow and blossom! 

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Tips to help your baby build friendships in the future

Tip #1: Give them opportunities to mix with other babies and children

How much time you spend doing this depends on your circumstances and how your baby reacts. Remember, babies get tired easily and socialising can be extremely tiring!

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Tip #2: Comfort your baby when they’re upset

If your baby becomes distressed, angry, or afraid, always respond with empathy and comfort them until they are calmed. This will help them control their emotions.

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Tip #3: Show you understand their point of view

Express their point of view out loud, even when they’re newborn. It might be as simple as “Oh, I know you don’t want your nappy changing right now. It’s a bother isn’t it? Let’s play that music you like while we’re doing it.” It’s a great habit to get into.

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