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am I worrying over nothing or is this perfectly normal?

(20 Posts)
worriedwhatfor Sat 19-Feb-05 20:38:16

Very long sorry!

DS is 20 months now and his behaviour worries me.
He is open and sociable very seldom, occasionally he will go up and chat to another little one in his own baby jargon and he alwas says goodbye to his little friends at nursery when he leaves.
Actually we bumped into one little girl at the supermarket and he said hallo and her name and smiled, it turned out they are in the same room at nursery as her mum knew DS. He will point when he wants things and has at least 30 words. He doesn't link words together in sentences, but will always say water, when thirsty and food when hungry. He also knows the name for most cartoon caracthers and will make himself understood on what toy he wants and which video he wants to watch.

However, when we meet with mums with other kids which he's known since he was a baby, he will ignore them completely and play on his own.
Just now and then he will mimic what they are doing - i.e. lie on the floor or scream, but then he will carry on with his toys.

When they leave he will say bye bye and then their name i.e. bye bye Jamie, bye bye Mary etc etc. With one boy in particular, with whose mum I have been friends for a long time, he will even cry when he leaves, calling his name, but he won't play with him when they are together!

It's got to the point that even the other mums have noticed as he never joins in, but is always busy with some car or train on his own.

I have asked at nursery and they say he actually is one of the few who really joins in the activity groups, but that is very different from when he's with me.

Is this normal? Help as this is making me loose my sleep.
Thanks

stupidgirl Sat 19-Feb-05 20:43:32

At this age children are too young to play with each other. They are playing alongside one another rather than actively interacting.

It sounds like he is a very bright, happy and normal little boy to me, you have absolutely nothing to worry about

ImuststopdrinkingBlossomhill Sat 19-Feb-05 20:49:12

So normal so please don't worry. It's not until children are about 3 that they play and probably not until they are 4/5 they understand the rules of playing.

gingernut Sat 19-Feb-05 20:50:05

I agree with stupidgirl, I have read and heard that children do not start to play together until they are around 3. Before that they just play alongside each other. This has been my experience - ds 1 has recently turned 3 and I've noticed that he's recently started actually playing with other children. When he was 20 months he was very much like your ds. Sounds like your ds is doing fine with his communication skills in fact.

bobbybob Sat 19-Feb-05 20:53:02

He sounds perfectly wonderful and you shouldn't be losing sleep.

My ds is a bit older (nearly 2) but he was the same as your ds at 20 months.

He is at an age were he can put labels on things, and something like a video is the same every time, another child is something different each time, so although it may not look like he is joining in he is storing up lots of ideas which eventually will become playing with others.

He is copying others and can communicate hunger and thirst, so I would say he is fine. There is a massive difference between an adult led group activity (at nursery) and expecting toddlers to spontaneously play a game together (at home.) There will be plenty of times at nursery that he is just playing alone. It's relaxing for him.

I realise that we all want our children to make and keep friends, but he is actually being very social by using names and saying bye bye. Just continue to encourage this and it will develop more as he gets older.

Gobbledigook Sat 19-Feb-05 21:24:30

Sounds normal - children don't really play 'together' at this age, just side by side (ie in the same room but with separate things) but obviously are learning 'hello' and 'bye bye' too.

I don't think you have anything to worry about.

ionesmum Sat 19-Feb-05 21:36:47

Definitely normal, I asked my dd's pre-school teacher and she said that playing together doesn't usually happen until 3-3 and a half. My dd1 still plays a lot on her own (she's nearly three) but sometimes joins in running or dancing games. Some children seem to play alongside other children in a way that looks as though they are playing together, and others prefer to have some space around them - maybe your ds is in the latter group? A really good book on toddler behaviour is The Social Toddler, it has loads of pics of toddlers doing things and explaining why. HTH

worriedwhatfor Sat 19-Feb-05 23:02:37

thanks everybody for your posts, feeling a bit better now.

I'd heard that they play on their own at this age, but a couple of mums at my toddler group commented that it was strange ds was not joining with the others. In fact everybody else there was the same age as ds and they were all in the same room playing or fighting together. ds preferred the conservatory where there was nobody, but plenty of toys.

Guess I will have to wait and see, will definitevely buy the book you suggest ionesmum, thanks again!

Surfermum Sat 19-Feb-05 23:07:41

He sounds totally normal to me WWF. My dd is 21m and we meet every week with other mums and toddlers, and have done since they were born (in fact before!). Even though they have always played "together", they still don't play with each other, just alongside.

winnie Sat 19-Feb-05 23:14:29

Absolutely normal ime (but I've worried about this myself in the past so sympathise).

bobbybob Sat 19-Feb-05 23:28:05

Taking toys off each other is normal too - but I would hardly describe it as being more social. Your ds sounds very sensible going to play with the toys he is more likely to be able to keep hold off. Other mothers probably just wish they weren't having to be umpires all the time...

worriedwhatfor Mon 21-Feb-05 22:55:23

I think the reason why I am concerned is that he used to be more sociable as a baby. He would wave and smile to everybody and would try to play with everybody too.
However he's changed in the last few months and I don't know if this is part of growing up or if it's because he has had bad experiences at nursery where there are older kids(i.e. rejection, pushing , fighting over toys) and he's now overreacting by clamming up? If this is the case, what should I do to give him the confidence back?

I think my worry also comes from the guilt that I am not always there with him, so I don't know if something has triggered this behaviour.

bobbybob Tue 22-Feb-05 00:35:40

Becoming more cautious about people is normal and fine. Please don't let those other mothers worry you any more.

FairyMum Tue 22-Feb-05 07:29:35

My ds1 is the same. He is older now, but like us they can also be shy in some settings and fine in other more familiar places like nursery I suppose. I think you are lucky he is so polite and says goodbye to his friends so nicely. Mine always forgets and has no manners,)

mumeeee Tue 22-Feb-05 10:49:04

Perfectly normal at this age.

maria1966 Tue 22-Feb-05 15:39:32

Hi my ds is exactly the same,he is very bright and does not join in much at pre school but does his own thing.I think this encourages their imagination and makes them less clingy.They can do things on their own without continually being at your aprion strings.
I feel that this is not abnormal as some adults are not over socialable and are shy,we are all different.I like to thionk my ds is taking it all in and is a great thinker.
After all Einstien did'nt talk until he was 5 years old.

bensmum3 Wed 23-Feb-05 19:59:24

Hi, I agree, ds is nearly 20 months, has an incredible vocabulary (100+ words including names of people ), putting 2 to 3 words together, but once in a room with other little ones plays by himself which is perfectly normal at this age, they will gradually start interacting with each other, so don't loose any more sleep, sounds like he's a great little boy !

worriedwhatfor Thu 24-Feb-05 23:04:10

Thank everybody, as ever mumsnet is full of mums who really are amazing. I am feeling very relieved.


Maria 1966, Einstein did not talk until he was 5, however there is a theory that he was autistic..
you are quite right that children are all different and have different personalities, however I wonder how much of this is inherited and how much is acquired, and how much depends on how things around us affect us. i.e they say boys should not go to nursery until they 2 years old as it doesn't suit their way of being.

bensmum3, I am very impressed your ds has such a large vocabulary!

I find ds still very babish, if you see what I mean.

When I try to speak to him and ask him to do things he ignores me most of the times.

He will only bring me things he wants to play with, for example, if I tell him to bring me Andy Pandy book, he will look for it and will find it in a pile of books and bring it to me, however, if I ask him to bring me his shoes, he will just ignore me and will keep playing - but he knows what shoes mean!

It seems to me that his understanding is selective, and I don't know how much at this age you can expect from them.

Anybody could suggest a good book on development at around this age?

maria1966 Fri 25-Feb-05 14:48:57

Hi,what if Einstien was autistic,so what.Look what he became.It's just a different way of thinking.

chipmonkey Fri 25-Feb-05 15:41:49

Worriedwhatfor, that sounds v. intelligent of him! He is suiting himself. BTW my DS1 went to a party when he was 2. The teletubbies were there and while all the other kids were dancing with the teletubbies, DS1 was on his knees in the corner, checking out the wiring on the stereo system. He's 8 now, still loves gadgets and technology but has loads of friends!

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