Laying the track for first friendships & teamwork

24-36 Months Tips for Parents

Laying the track for first friendships & teamwork

Helping your little one make big friendships

Until recently, your toddler has probably enjoyed playing mostly on their own (or with you!). At 2 and a half years old, your little one will start to show a bigger interest in playing with other children. These new connections lay the foundation for important skills like teamwork and friendship.

Like any social skills, these can take some time – and some work. The good news? This work can be child’s play – literally. From setting up playdates to setting out toys, there are lots of ways to help get your child on the right track.

Tip 1: Take it slow

Each child socializes in their own way and in their own time. Allow your little one to take these new steps at their own pace. Remember, they’re still developing language skills and self-control so they might not understand certain concepts like sharing (a biggie!) yet. Just be patient – they’re arriving soon.

Tip 2: Be all ears

Listen to your little ones’ emotions. Making new friends can be hard for toddlers, so taking time out to talk and listen to their feelings is a great way for them to learn how to express themselves (toddler talk is the best talk!) and for you to learn new things about them.

Tip 3: Find the fun

Where there’s kids, there’s playdates! Getting your little ones together with others is a brilliant breeding ground for their development. From growing their social skills, to learning how to become a team-playing toddler, your little one will prosper from playing with other kids.

Tip 4: Practice patience

Sharing is like a toddler’s Everest! Waiting five minutes for their favourite toy feels like days in their tiny minds. A great way to learn patience is by encouraging sharing (tough as it can be). Setting a timer to take turns with toys is a top tip and gives little ones a great sense of fair play.

Play with other kids

Emotions are hard for grown-ups, so imagine your little conductors experiencing some for the first time. Here are some tips to help them (and you) ride their emotional waves:

Whether your little one has been an Angry Alligator, Sad Squirrel, or even Kind Kitten, help them identify feelings with names like these.

“I can see you’re sad because you’re crying.” Talking about emotions helps them understand what they’re feeling now and helps them better explain when they feel it again.

"Mommy is feeling happy because you cleaned up your toys. Can you see my smile?"

Try using toys that show emotion. Thomas & Friends™ new toys have dramatic facial expressions.


Using their favourite toys is a great way to play out social situations (while having fun). Here are some ways Thomas & Friends™ engines and playsets can help: playing with multiple engines on a track demonstrates teamwork as the engines help each other take on challenges (like delivering cargo). “Hi Thomas!”, “Hi Percy!”: interactive talking engines help show that friends are never too busy to stop and chat. Racing sets can help teach kids about playing fair and letting everyone have a turn at feeling the thrill of victory.

Watching their personality (and social circles) grow with every new experience is another exciting stop on your parenting journey.

Making friends and learning teamwork are little life lessons that go a long way in laying the tracks for your little one’s development.