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Should I be concerned that my nearly 3yr old has no interest in playing in a park...

(28 Posts)
Motherofatruck Mon 20-Feb-17 10:48:59

...Or using a scooter/riding a trike etc. He's never liked the slide, except to roll a ball or a car down it. We have a little climbing frame in the garden but he's never used it. He also hates little kiddie rides. He likes looking at them, but that's all. Also has no interest in bouncy castles or trampolines. Anyone else experience this? Is this something I should be keeping an eye on?

isthistoonosy Mon 20-Feb-17 10:51:55

Does he have a friend to go to the park with to play? My older kid only got really into parks at around two and half, when his little sister could join in.

Leggit Mon 20-Feb-17 10:52:47

It wouldn't worry me. Not every child is the same. Some enjoy outdoorsy stuff, others dont

Motherofatruck Mon 20-Feb-17 11:39:02

He loves being outdoors. He will happily walk in the woods or run on a field, just zero interest in playing in the park hmm
I used to look after my friend's 2 children (one who is a similar age to my son) and he was never interested in joining in at the park. He would always end up standing by the fence where he could see the cars driving by. Any playdates we have had in the park have ended up with his friend playing and him standing looking through the fence at the cars... We walk by the park regularly and I always ask if he wants to go and play, but he prefers to either run around the basketball court pretending the markings are a road, or go and stand by the carpark watching the cars.

Motherofatruck Mon 20-Feb-17 11:40:04

Maybe it's his obsession with cars that is the problem grin

Motherofatruck Mon 20-Feb-17 12:52:38

I guess I only worry because all his friends enjoy activities like going to the park or soft play and he is so different... even on a trip to the zoo he found a gap in the hedge where he could watch the cars and had to be coaxed dragged away after 10 mins. He's kind of interested in the animals, but not enough to catch his attention for more than a few seconds. It's almost like once he's identified the animal and told me what it is he's ready to move on to the next one. Take him to a carpark or a roadside, he could stand there all day confused

IWillOnlyEatBeans Tue 21-Feb-17 17:17:05

Your DS sounds like mine was at that age. His favourite activities were:

Being pushed/walking along a main road telling me the names of all the cars and spotting taxis/buses/ambulances (we were living in SW London at this point).
Sitting at the train station watching trains and waving to the drivers/conductors.
Going for a walk in the massive cemetery to watch the diggers digging the graves blush

If he went on the swings at the park, he had to be sat facing the road so he could count taxis.

He did grow out of his vehicle obsession (he's 7 now) and is slightly horrified when I remind him of his graveyard fascination!

Motherofatruck Tue 21-Feb-17 23:30:28

Your son sounds just like mine IWillOnlyEatBeans he would just walk around looking at cars all day if he had the choice grin He started pointing out 'daddy's car' every time we went past a car the same make and model as ours when he was just 14 months and now he can tell me what every single car is (be it a Ford focus or a Fiat 500) It's amazing! But I do worry that he doesn't really want to join in anything with his friends. The only game I've seen him really join in are chasing games running around in circles
Was your son like this as well? What age did he grow out of the vehicle and graveyard obsession? grin

IWillOnlyEatBeans Wed 22-Feb-17 08:16:02

Joining in with friends is something DS1 still struggles with, to be fair. He has made lots of progress lately, but it hasn't come easily to him. We are having him assessed for ASD (if he does have it, it is mild and high functioning).

HOWEVER at nearly 3 he wouldn't engage with his peers at all and cried if another child came close to him. He didn't join in chasing games, or any kind of games at all. So I don't want to imply that your son is similar in that regard!

The vehicle obsession ended probably at 3.5, to be replaced by an obsession with transformers, then Lego Mixels. It's now Pokemon. He has always had one very strong interest at a time!

SleepFreeZone Wed 22-Feb-17 08:22:00

My sons always been a little peculiar when it comes to the same things. He is certainly not like your average child when it comes to playing but they are not convinced he has any SEN. He is four now and will play in the park with this friends. Can't pedal a trike although will go on his balance bike. He does like a bouncy castle and slide but won't try things like sitting on a pony. He has enjoyed a fairground ride though so I think he'd do that again.

I think all you can do is keep offering him the opportunity to do these things and hopefully he will follow his peers in time.

PoisonousSmurf Wed 22-Feb-17 08:23:57

A day at the car race track would be his dream day out by the sounds of it.

IWillOnlyEatBeans Wed 22-Feb-17 08:28:49

Oh I meant to add. DS1 did enjoy playground equipment (if there were no cars to distract him) - he would sit in a swing being pushed for HOURS.
He didn't like trampolines or bouncy castles - he was a late walker with hypermobility and I think the instability bothered him. He loves both now.
He refused to go on little fairground rides until suddenly he would (I think we came across one where you could ride on Lighting McQueen) and he loved them from then on.

Starduke Wed 22-Feb-17 08:39:46

DS1 loved the park and playing with any child he could find.

DS2 (3 in May) is not so keen. He tends to watch the others and rarely joins in. He does however love going for walks so we adapt what we do with him.

As an aside, DS1 was so obsessed with trains, we used to go to the station just to watch the metros go by blush He loved even just looking at rails! He's another one with one big obsession at a time, whereas DS2 is much more spread out in terms of interests.

Motherofatruck Wed 22-Feb-17 12:06:36

Thank you all for sharing your experiences. It's reassuring to know that other children had similar interests obsessions and that my son isn't the only one who doesn't like the park. Other parents always seem shocked when I explain that he doesnt like the park equipment or soft play etc.
Even lightning mcqueen rides don't appeal to him and he LOVES lightning mcqueen.
You are spot on PoisonousSmurf he would love a day at the race track! If there was one within walking distance we would probably be there every day grin Planning on taking him to watch go karts for his birthday, which I'm sure he will love too. If not, there's always the car park blush

Motherofatruck Wed 22-Feb-17 12:17:31

If you don't mind me asking IWillOnlyEatBeans what has led you to seek having your son assessed for ASD? My son has some other little quirks which we have recently begun to wonder about.

sirfredfredgeorge Wed 22-Feb-17 12:52:46

The park is good for kids in that the climbing etc. helps build upper body and core strength, that just running around etc. doesn't, even if the amount of exercise is still a fair bit.

If he doesn't do anything else to build core and shoulder strength, then I think you should see if you can find more ways to encourage that, that, rather than the park would be what would concern me.

Motherofatruck Wed 22-Feb-17 13:05:44

I do try and encourage him to try the climbing frame and other equipment sirfred but he's just not interested. Every time we are near the park I ask if he wants to go and play, the answer is no. If I do manage to get him in the park area he'll just kind of pat the equipment like some strange little park surveyor... If I push him too much to try the climbing frame he just gets upset. Any suggestions of other activities?

Bubbinsmakesthree Wed 22-Feb-17 14:14:08

Sounds a lot like my 2.5yo and I'm not worried about him at all.

He can take or leave play equipment in the park, certainly not his favourite thing - will have a go on the swings or an easy slide but that's about it. Hates soft play, won't go near a trampoline or bouncy castle. Can't push himself on a ride-on. Struggles with stairs and pulling himself up (e.g. onto a sofa or bed). Quite wary of climbing etc.

Like the outdoors - things like exploring the woods, feeding ducks. But he would happily sit at home all day playing with his trains and puzzles and reading books. Loves vehicles - we do trips to the station just to watch the trains. He I s not one of these kids that needs to 'run off' energy.

At his 2 year check his gross motor skills were a little behind but not alarmingly so and he's making steady improvement.

He's average or advanced in other developmental areas, I just think that kind of physical activity is neither his strength or his interest at the moment. It might change in the same way late talkers don't tend to remain behind their peers.

Motherofatruck Wed 22-Feb-17 16:29:24

That's a good way of looking at it bubbins I am probably guilty of worrying needlessly blush He does excel in other areas, so I should probably just focus on them. My son couldn't jump until he was nearly 2.5 and also couldn't push himself on ride on toys until he got one from his uncle for Christmas (which I thought would go unused like previous ride on toys) but he now loves playing on it. Hopefully the rest will just fall into place naturally as he gets older

IWillOnlyEatBeans Wed 22-Feb-17 18:18:24

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Bubbinsmakesthree Wed 22-Feb-17 20:08:35

I should say in my DS's case there I have no concerns about his social behaviour - he likes interacting with other children and exhibits typical play behaviours. It's really just that play that centres on physical movement isn't his cup of tea.

IHeartKingThistle Wed 22-Feb-17 20:46:52

My DS didn't go near a swing till he was 4. At 2 he'd just run around the park between things, quite happy but going on nothing, ever. At soft play he'd grab two balls from the ball pit and walk around happily looking at everything, but going on nothing. He was petrified of water.

He's 7 now. He's fab. He's only now developed that traditional boyish leaping off things thing, whereas before he was just very cautious. He can't ride a bike yet but scoots like a demon and plays football and netball and can swim. He plays with other kids and hurls himself round soft play with the best of them, though he'd still rather be doing science things or making something out of a cardboard box or playing guitar. He's very nervous about theme park rides but we don't push that.

He just needed time to come to the other things in his own time. It would have been a disaster to force him onto a swing. The only thing we overtly did was teach him a bit of assertiveness, as he would just let other kids walk up to him and take his stuff. Other than that he's become his own person and has found confidence in that.

Hope that helps!

porsmork Wed 22-Feb-17 20:57:30

Sounds very much like my ds (just turned 27 months), and I'm very reassured to see this thread. Mine just isn't interested in swings, ride on stuff etc. Though he does go on a slide or trike occasionally, and at nursery. He would much prefer to watch cars, diggers or trains (he too, is obsessed), so we don't really go to the park. He does love walks in the woods, playing chase games or hide and seek, and is always climbing over the sofa at home, so i don't worry about 'laziness'. I think he just likes watching how things work more that working them himself, and when I get nervous that he's a bit behind on physical stuff (he's not jumping etc), I remind myself that he's very careful and considered, and thoughtful, and that's much easier to manage than a risk -unaware accident prone boy.
At soft play he sits and watches the others run around madly, or finds a pretend activity to play (filling the scooters with petrol). We don't go that often, as it's just a minefield for confrontation and he finds the whole thing overwhelming (as do I).
I just wish I could find a few more kids like this locally that he could pal up with, and play cars with, as all the little ones of the same age are far more boisterous and loud and he gets quite intimidated in their company. No concerns about his behaviour, other than the fact I think he's probably going to be a bit picked on. He's a gentle soul in a rough world- he takes after his mum and dad!

porsmork Wed 22-Feb-17 21:01:24

@ IHeartKingThistle - I'd love to hear about what strategies you used to teach assertiveness. DS is always having stuff taken away from him and I'd like to start teaching him calm but firm ways of him establishing that it's his turn, and the child can have their turn when he is done.

IHeartKingThistle Wed 22-Feb-17 21:33:38

Oh I'm no expert! We just did role play really, and taught him 'Stop it, I don't like it' and to say 'no!' if someone was taking something away. He was really small then though. Also getting him to say it loudly was hard but we made it into a game and I did witness him putting it into practice at a nursery picnic a while later. I was proud!

He would never tell a teacher, either, if he had been hit or even fallen over. This has improved as he has got older.

He's still gentle and I still worry a bit that he'll be easily led, but he holds his own now! We've also talked a lot about everyone being different and it's ok not to like the same things or do the same things.

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