As parents, one of the most important things we can do is to help our children learn to make friends, and have healthy relationships.
It’s a source of such great joy, seeing your child playing happily with another child. And a source of such heartache when they don’t get on with others, especially as they get older.
Giving children practice in making relationships is a major benefit of a nanny share, and one of the reasons we are such fans of it. All that time saying ‘Mine!’ and grabbing stuff off each other – that’s all learning.
And while the babies and toddlers are figuring out how other humans tick, they’re also laying foundations for social robustness, resilience and mental health.
There’s plenty of academic evidence that children spending time with other children, in settings where they become almost as close as siblings, is enormously beneficial for their cognitive, emotional, social and linguistic development.
Recent evidence from the fields of neuroscience and child development has revealed that these benefits begin right from the earliest days, when the children are babies.
- Babies are calmer when with other babies —and can even help to calm each other down
- Toddlers who spend time together learn co-operative play faster, including helping and sharing behaviours
- Young children talk more about thoughts, feelings and ideas to other children than they do to adults
- Younger children who spend time with older kids learn language faster
- Children who have sibling-like relationships – with older or younger kids – have better social skills. This helps them navigate relationships better when they’re older.
One massive survey of 57,000 adults found that each additional sibling reduces the likelihood of a person’s divorce by 2 percent in later life. In other words, having siblings helps kids figure out how social relationships work, so they can do them better.
If your little one doesn’t have a sibling, helping them spend lots of time with another child or children—whether in a nanny share or whatever other arrangement—might be the next best thing.