How Two Friends Talk Through Hugs and Tugs

Delivery Method: 

Like older children, preschoolers can form close friendships in which expressions of affection, concern, emotional understanding and support become increasingly evident and extend beyond a child’s immediate distress or obvious needs. Often, young children will exhibit heightened sensitivity for a friend before they demonstrate similar caring and concern for a sibling. While an understanding of others’ feelings can help children form new friendships, reciprocally, established friendships may also increase children’s understanding of others. As a relationship with a friend grows, a child’s understanding and caring for other children can also develop. By studying children’s play with friends, we learn more about children’s understanding of other people and how those understandings are formed.

In this ThinkprintChaislyn has just finished reading a book to her friend, Madison. Now, she invites Madison to take a turn reading the book. However, Chaislyn’s invitation does not garner an immediate response from Madison. Notice how Chaislyn gradually uses several subtle strategies to entice a response from her friend. See how Chaislyn first taps Madison’s arm gently. Then, while softly saying her name, “Maddie,” Chaislyn grasps and gently shakes Madison’s arm. When Madison still does not reply, Chaislyn shifts to a new strategy. Watch how she works to establish eye contact by crouching down as if to align her own gaze with Madison’s apparently downward looking gaze.

Chaislyn relates to Madison with the kind of measured care and patience one might use to coax a loved one from sleep. Next, Chaislyn’s overture becomes a bit more personal. She nudges her head against Madison’s cheek. This does it! Madison replies by pointing to Chaislyn. Notice how Madison seems to communicate a sense of excitement and perhaps urgency, by combining her pointing gesture with a repeated tapping action. See how Chaislyn, without hesitation, interprets Madison’s pointing gesture as a request for a hug. Watch how Chaislyn signals her interpretation of Madison’s request by extending her arms in preparation for their embrace. See how Madison confirms her desire for a hug by raising her arms up toward Chaislyn. All in the world seems well as these two dear friends support and nurture each other.

Fours, Body, Child-Child, Communication, Friendship, Special Education, videative

Length of videative: 13 paragraphs, 10 video subclips
Length of stand-alone master video clip: 9 minutes, 47 seconds