girls, boys & 'friends' at age 4 — The Bump
Pre-School

girls, boys & 'friends' at age 4

I'm curious about your experiences w/ your LOs around age 4 related to friends in pre-school, pre-k, daycare, esp if your LO goes full time and is around the same kids all the time year round.
Does your LO have specific 'friends' at school that they identify to you as their 'friend'/'best friend' or someone who they always seem to play with, or do they just play with whoever is around or doing what they want? I'm also curious about boys vs girls & how this plays out...?

Re: girls, boys & 'friends' at age 4

  • DD had one little girl that she called her best friend for the past two years. The little girl went to another school this year and DD was crushed. She still asks when her friend is going to come back to school. It seriously breaks my heart for her.
    Typically, she talks more about the boys. I think she tends to play more with the boys as well. There's one little boy that she enjoys "tattling" on and telling me all the things he did that day and how they aren't nice.
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  • DD#1- has had a BFF since she was in the twos class, straight through the fours.  They have gone off to different elementary schools, and she hasn't so much as mentioned him.  She has always made easy friends, though.

    DS- a parallel play kinda guy.  Prefers the boys who like to play trains and not necessarily interact, but loves the wild rowdy girl and loves her and I imagine he will miss her deeply when they are no longer together.

    DD#2 finds the life of the party, the fanciest girl, doesn't bother with her name and joins in. 

    They're all so different!

    If you really want to be happy, no one can stop you.

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  • DS is only 3 (turns 4 in November). Last year at preschool he made one good friend. They would always play together and sit beside each other at snack time, etc. about 5 weeks in DS was talking about this boy a lot! He's mentioned other kids as well (both boys and girls), but really singled out this one friend. We also have regular play dates with two other kids that he'll name if you ask who his friends are.
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  • My oldest had a best friend in preschh that was a girl. He is a boy. But he played with a few boys and girls... They just really liked each other and we had tons of play dates with his bf.

    My middle son did not bond with any kids at preschool till he was 5, but he did have one friend that was a boy, when he was 4... we were never able to set up a play date.But he mostly wanted to play with his brothers. His BFF on preschool last year was also a boy.

    My youngest already has a buddy in preschool with him, they sit next to each other and have lots of play dates! He knew hon before starting preschool. But he will play and talk to anyone!
    Boy 1 2/06 - Boy 2 12/07 - Boy 3 9/09
  • DS has one really good friend that is a boy and we do some playdates. He also has a female friend that he gets along with very well. And bonus is that we can have both kids over and it's a nice time. I think he doesn't care for it when the boys play super agressively at this stage. Just not his thing.
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  • My daughter has 4-5 classmates that she mentions a lot. These are the kids she typically will sit with in the morning and be playing with at pick-up. There is one boy that she says she wants to marry. 

    We have some friends with a daughter her age and she often tell me that this girl is her best friend.  
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  • So the reason I'm asking is that my DD also has a 'best friend' and 3-4 girls in class that she regularly mentions and plays with at school. DS does not mention particular kids very often and when we ask who he played w/ sometimes he'll say a name (usually different kids), sometimes he says no one, sometimes he says he doesn't remember.
    Is this a thing w/ my DS or I'm wondering if boys don't tend to identify these specific friendships as early as girls do...?

    Because we have twins and b/c they go to daycare/pre-k full time we don't really do a lot of formal play dates except with DD's 'best friend' on occasion b/c we have become friends w her parents, so them asking to invite particular kids over for playdates is pretty rare in general, and I don't get the impression that many other parents do playdates w/ kids from our school- I think like us they figure those kids are together 5 days a week and on the weekend probably tend to get together w/ families in the neighborhood, or the parents' friends/families...

  • groovygrl,

    My 4 yo boy is just like that. I often see him playing with the same two or three boys, but when I ask him who he played with or who his friends are, he actually seems annoyed. He'll say he doesn't remember or no one, etc. We do set up play dates for our son with the boys we see him playing with (the less aggressive boys in the class), and he does well playing cooperatively when there's only two of them. I think the boys are just more low-key about friendships at this age. In contrast, I have noticed the girls in his class playing in big groups of girls, talking about friendships, etc.  I think the girls are just more advanced socially at this age.
  • DS has specific friend he plays with he also has a school girlfriend and a neighborhood girlfriend.
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  • My DS has a few friends from school that are girls.  We have been to birthday parties or run into some of the girls at playgrounds/etc, and the girls will come over and talk to him but he gets shy and takes a while to join in with them.  He is a quiet kid, and doesn't often play with the rough boys.  But last year he would talk about a few of the girls in the class and his teachers said he and one little girl were inseparable.  
    My DD is much more advanced.  She loves playing with the other girls - talks about her friends, etc.  She will join in with DS's friends - he almost relies on her to help him out!  I think the girls are just much more social than boys!
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  • edited September 2013
    My son started preschool the month he turned 3. Within a month, he had two friends who he played with and talked about at home all the time. When we went to parties for kids in his class he pretty much played exclusively with his friends. He's in a mixed age classroom of kids 3-5 so i think thats why he picked up that social skill so quickly--he gravitated to the boys a year and a half older. He's in a different class this year as we switched from pm to am and hasn't mentioned any particular kids yet, though he only started a week ago.
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  • DD has about 4 friends that she plays with more or talks about more than the others. They are also female. The girls are also caddy, argue and tease.  I wish DD would enjoy playing with boys more but she's into gender roles: trucks v barbies and makes comments about boys saying potty words. DD is tattletale.
    Mommy of two girls: DD1 4/14/9 DD2 4/15/11
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  • DS is shy, but managed to make 2 good friends (boys) over the past 3 years of being in school with them.  He didn't actually start playing with them until the 4 yo class (he is doing the 4's twice because he misses the kindergarten cutoff this year) last year. He'll sometimes play with other boys if they wander over to where he is playing, but he doesn't really go out to seek other kids to play with.  And no girls allowed!
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  • I'm always intrigued by this dynamic because it's so different than it is with the older kids. DD seems to switch "best friends" almost on a daily basis. I've gathered that her best friend each day is just the person she plays with the most that day. They do ask/tell each other that they are best friends, and sometimes the kids get upset if they want to be BF's with the same person on a particular day. DD does seem to have one friend who she is BF's with more often than others, and she has had a few play dates with her outside of school. 


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  • I should add that there are days when DD says she doesn't play with anyone, and she seems to be perfectly fine with that. I'm not sure if it's an age thing or that DD is an introvert, but I don't worry about it. 


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