Can Toddlers Really Be Friends?

toddler friendsLook at these two BFFs. This toddler relationship is going on its fifth year, and even though these adorable kids are now thousands of miles apart, they are still loving each other to the max. My daughter was really lucky in meeting this little friend through a shared child care giver when they were both six months old. What was even luckier is that we also loved his parents, and became fast friends. They'll spend their sixth birthdays together, and we're planning a visit to this little dude's house all the way across the country this very week.

This toddler friendship is for real, and it's a beautiful thing. However, I don't actually think that's how all toddler friendships work. At least not if my two-year-old son is an example of the toddler friend dynamic.

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This is where I admit that we did not work as hard to cultivate friendships for our second child. I do believe every second child gets the shaft in this department (not to excuse our neglect, but kind of). Sure he meets other kids, and he loves them. For that moment. But I would be shocked if he keeps in touch with the toddler at the Y who he seems to adore while we're in a mommy and me swim class. Although, hey, he'll be on Facebook, so who knows?

Experts say that kids in this age group don't even really play with each other. The parallel play phase goes on for a few years. So if you can't bond over a mutual game of Hot Wheels crash em' up derby, can you really be friends?

I certainly hope so. And I really hope that the little ones my son comes home from pre-school yammering about do turn out to be life long friends. If his excitement about seeing them all the next day is any indication, they will. Which means I've got a lot of parents to befriend, to make sure he gets the gift of an enduring friendship, just like his sister has been so lucky to have for almost six years.

Does your toddler have a best friend?

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