A Personal Story About Friendships Across Ages

Hi there blog-reader!
Today I want to share a personal story with you. To me, it is a beautiful story about the first steps into social life for a very young child- my grandson Eik, who is 1 year + 7 months old. As I will share with you in a bit, he had an exhilarating and loving afternoon play date with a 6 year old girl.Of course, many children have siblings, and are used to be with children of different ages. But how many children have friends of different ages? In many Kindergartens and Day Care Centers, children are mostly socially placed in groups with children of the same age as themselves. However, children benefit greatly from being with children who are younger or older of age. Something else happens. To me, it is clear that more attentive care and social consideration gets the opportunity to flourish. Sometimes in surprising ways! And now to my little story:

Eik’s First Real Play Date

A few days ago, I had the fantastic opportunity to see my grandson having his first personal invited friend over. His friend is a warm and loving girl at the age of 6. They both attend the same kindergarten, and they both live in apartments that share the same yard; it is a big, green yard with lawns and big and smaller trees – and a consistent social life; here, many children meet and play every day. There are many children of different ages, and they often play across both gender and age, sometimes two and two, but also in smaller groups. I sense a fantastic care and engagement from all the adults towards the children, and between them as parents.
Now, back to the encounter for the 2 very different children: The girl was very excited to visit Eik, and she was curious about the flat. Eik was so thrilled to have her there. He wanted to show her everything, and often he just had to hug her; something he does very rarely. Eik was constantly just one big smile.He went and got some watermelon to share with her, and when she sat down on the floor, he immediately went and sat on her lab. Then, se started reading books for him, and they both enjoyed just being together.

I, my daughter and my son in law were watching this encounter with big inner gratefulness and happy, quiet smiles.This was an important meeting with the greater world for both of them and for young Eik in particular. It was clear, that to Eik the world is a good and safe place. Experiences like this may seem minor to us grown ups, but this was a first for him, and it was an important step into the social interactive life for him. Experiences like this encourage the will and the wish to participate even more in life, to be a part of the social life.

Watching Eik being a loving host, showing the much older girl around the house, and just jumping out of his skin in his wish to show her true hospitality, was a very touching moment for me as well as the parents. Why? Because little children imitate what they see, feel and experience so promptly. It matters how mom and dad speak to each other, as well as to and about other people; it matters how they welcome people in their homes, and how they relate to other people. All of this goes so deep into our children, and they will imitate this in their own encounters with their friends. Young Eik is met with so much care, and has no reason not to feel loved or understood, and thus he is not skeptical or uncertain of himself.

I felt so humbled watching those two little human beings in their non-prejudicial exploration of new social experiences. Life is all about being able to meet and welcome the world, and wish each other all the best.

Now to you:
– Does your young child have the opportunity to form connections with children of different ages?
– Do you have an older child, and how does he/she react when interacting with smaller children?

– Or do you have a story or a question you would like to share/ask- then please visit our blog and add a comment

Feel free to go to the comment section below
With love,
Helle- and Anna on the side.

Comments (4)

  • Helen

    Hello Helle,

    Thank you for this beautiful post. I am English by birth and education (Nursery/Infant 3-7 training). I’ve lived in America for 42 years yet I always seem to understand non-American writing more easily!

    I am also a grandma, to two beautiful babies (26 mth old girl and 7 mth boy) – our youngest son’s children. They live in town so we see them several times a week – for fun, not to babysit. In line with your post, my granddaughter’s friends are all ages, she is drawn to 4+ year olds at the park their bikes and scooters; always observing.

    What I specially notice in my granddaughter’s rich world is the mutual love and attachment between her and the young men (mostly in their mid 20s and early 30s) in the chorus that my son directs. She treats them like members of her family – which in a way they are because they do visit my son’s home and are made very welcome there.

    The greatest part for me is that I know which of these young men has a life that’s somewhat in turmoil (their music is a refuge) and E seems to understand that her loving ways serve a purpose in their lives! My son sees the guys as so loving that they would be her protectors if the need arose. Even walking across a car park to the car we know who can be relied upon to ensure her safety by easy hand holding.

    Thank you for writing this! Living here in the US I find life to be extremely age-segregated from the earliest years. My husband and I certainly don’t want to mix with ‘old’ people!!!

    With very best wishes,

    • Slow Parenting

      Dear Helen

      Children help us becoming good human beings! They are so open and never judging.
      Thank you so much for your story from your life with your grandchildren.


  • Helena Dodds

    Thank you for this delightful story of children meeting children of different ages. I am always overjoyed to watch how my two granddaughters who live in different cities love to come together. one is 4 years old and the other is 9. Both are ecstatically happy together. They spend weekends together. They wake up happy and sustain the happiness all day. They have so far never found their different ages a problem. They totally enrich each other. The younger child (Bianca) loves to witness the skills of the older one (Ayla). Bianca is inspired to try out the dancing and gymnastic skills that Ayla does so well. Thay spend hours on the lawn each doing their own form of the activities. Ayla struggles with reading at her age level and she loves to read her old books to Bianca. This gives both children the joy of reading. For us, the two children teach us to find harmony and joy in our differences

    • Slow Parenting

      Dear Helena,

      Thank you so much for sharing this touching and heart warmning story with us!