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What age did your toddler start to play 'with' other children?

(30 Posts)
mummylonglegs Sat 26-Feb-05 13:18:57

Just wondering about this. Dd's 2.4 and is very chatty and sociable with adults but as far as other kids go she's either not that bothered (although does like talking about her playmates when they're not around) or she gets fed up with them if they interrupt her games / get too close. Generally other little kids seem more friendly towards her than she is towards them.

In your experience, what kind of age do toddlers generally open up to playing with others?

Lonelymum Sat 26-Feb-05 13:21:38

Broadly speaking, I would say it coincided with when they went to playgroup - broadly some time between 2.5 and 3. But they are all different aren't they? My ds1 (aged 8) still doesn't relate well to other children (apart from his siblings) whereas ds2 and dd were sociable with adults and children quite early on.

mummylonglegs Sat 26-Feb-05 13:28:11

Hi LM . Dd goes to a childminder 2 mornings a week where there's also the childminder's dd who's 2 months older. She doesn't play with her at all although I do think she likes her because when I talk to hear about the dd she says 'we love xxx!' Whenever I'm at any kind of playgroup with her and another child comes near her space or what she's doing she responds very badly, either tells them to go away or bursts into tears!

Lonelymum Sat 26-Feb-05 13:33:06

It sounds like she isn't ready for that sort of contact then. Some of them aren't. Ds1 still doesn't respond to other children sometimes and I despair of him! Literally, children he has been at school with for 5 years say hello to him and he doesn't answer. But then, he has had trouble with them and I do wonder if they have bullied him in which case I would support his decision not to reply to them.

Have you any other children? It will not help you with your dd, but I found my second and third children were much more sociable from an early age and I think it has something to do with not being the oldest and being in more social situations from an earlier age.

joash Sat 26-Feb-05 13:45:43

GS has played with other children since he was about 12 months old - but he did attend a private nursery for a couple of days a week, so I think they sort of encouraged playing together. He doesn't go there anymore, but he does go to a couple of carer and toddler goups and plays wuite happily with others (if they are into playing) he loves to be around other children.

They are all different - both my DD's must have been between 2 & 3 before they would play with anyone else. DS was about 18 months - but then again, he attended creches when I went to work.

hercules Sat 26-Feb-05 13:48:11

Mine's 16 months and just slaps other children.

mummylonglegs Sat 26-Feb-05 21:02:03

Actually I was thinking about this again. It's not really that I worry about her playing with kids so much as not being so bothered by their presence. I took her to a soft play area today and the moment any other child was within a couple of feet of 'her turf' she's freaked out and calling for me or crying. She's not like this with friend's children although she still keeps a distance. But I don't really see other kids in group play situations being quite so anti-social!

Lonelymum Sat 26-Feb-05 21:04:08

Perhaps something has made her feel abit insecure recently and she is just going through a phase of being possessive of her space and what she is playing with. Or has she always reacted this way to other children?

marne Sat 26-Feb-05 21:05:36

Hi, same problom with my one year old dd, She likes older kids but not smaller todlers and babys, she just crys if i put her near another baby. I wouldnt wory to much im sure its quite normal.

mummylonglegs Sat 26-Feb-05 21:05:58

Yes, always. It's like she finds them amusing from a distance when she's close by me and I reassure her, but she's got no confidence when she encounters a child on her own.

mummylonglegs Sat 26-Feb-05 21:07:03

marne, I didn't worry about it until now. And I'm not massively worried. It's just that I find it almost impossible to imagine how she'll fare with pre-school in another 6 months unless she changes very rapidly.

Lonelymum Sat 26-Feb-05 21:07:15

Are you sure she hasn't been hurt by one of her encounters with other children eg the other child at the childminders or at a playgroup?

mummylonglegs Sat 26-Feb-05 21:10:09

I don't think so because she's always been like this and has only been going to the childminders for a couple of mornings a week for the last couple of months. Part of the reason I've been sending her is to try to encourage her to play a bit more with little kids and not rely on me so much to intervene.

Lonelymum Sat 26-Feb-05 21:13:18

Well hopefully she will change as she grows older. FWIW girls seem to do a lot of conversing together and seem to have to relate more to each other than boys do who just kick a football about or play fight, so hopefully your dd will feel differently about the other girls when she wants to play "Let's pretend".

mummylonglegs Sat 26-Feb-05 21:16:56

She's really into 'pretend' play already but she only wants to do it with me! She won't even let dp play. I keep thinking that at some point she'll realise that I don't have the imagination or energy to keep up with her and so she'll discover that other kids do!

Lonelymum Sat 26-Feb-05 21:19:52

Yes that's it. If she like pretend play, I'm sure she will see the benefits of playing with others soon.

musicmaker Sat 26-Feb-05 21:46:08

I read somewhere that children dont actually interact/play with other children until around three. Up to that age they just play along side each other, may mirror what the other childre is doing. They may not even look at each other but are happy to be in each others company doing their own thing. It is quite true, I watch my dd and her friends at their playgroup they are all aged 18 - 22 mths, they dont actually talk to each other unless they are pushing each other off the slide but they play close together doing the same or their own thing. Then you look at the slightly older children who are actually talking and playing together.

mummylonglegs Sat 26-Feb-05 21:56:27

I think you're right musicmaker about the playing side by side thing. My dd's problem is that she'll only play on opposite sides of the room!

rogan2001 Sat 26-Feb-05 22:42:23

My Ds is 3yr and he still does'nt really play interactivly with other children, he has always preferred to play with me instead of the other children when we have gone to playgroups etc. he's now at nursery so is starting to take a bit more notice of the other children but he would still rather play with the teacher or a adult helper there. His teacher says that it is generally about the age of 3 and half to 4 that children will start to make friends, she said they are always getting asked by parents to provide a list of friends names for partys but a lot of the time they can't do it because they don't really have friends until they get nearer the age of 4. I think my ds prefers adult company rather than playing with other kids, he is a only child and has been round adults a lot.maybe your dd prefers adults too.

mummylonglegs Sun 27-Feb-05 14:30:53

Yes, rogan, she does prefer adults. Maybe it would be different if she had some siblings, but that's highly unlikely. Thanks for this reply it's very helpful to know roughly what age they might start to make friends.

snugs Sun 27-Feb-05 14:44:00

I was concerned when DS2 started at nursery - at 3.5y - because he hadn't had much contact with kids his own age, plus he has some minor speech problems, so I was bothered he would get pushed out. He seems happy to pile in with the crowd but they all play their own games.

His teacher assures me that parallel or mirror play is the norm at his age and they expect to see cooperative play starting at about 4yrs.

mummylonglegs Sun 27-Feb-05 22:00:33

That's reassuring snugs. Do you think many kids are also slightly wary or even hysterical around other kids?

KarenThirl Mon 28-Feb-05 07:39:22

I'd heard the same thing as Musicmaker - they call it 'parallel play' when they play alongside each other, and don't really begin to interact till pre-school year (3-4). Of course, it does depend a lot on the child.

mummylonglegs Mon 28-Feb-05 13:27:44

I noticed dd did 'kind of' play with a friend's dd this morning in that they were chasing each other round and round a wall and laughing when they bumped into each other. However, my dd is very unforthcoming with her friendship in general, refuses to walk holding hands etc. which funnily enough she seemed quite keen on a few months ago ...

Bigmumma Mon 28-Feb-05 21:46:40

My DS is 3 and we were given his report folder from pre-school last week and one of the points the keyworkers wanted to concentrate on was about him mixing with his peers as he tends to like to play with the keyworkers or (when he's at home) with adults. DS does have younger sibling but he's 5 months old. I was becoming quite concerned about it but now have read the messages below it has put my mind at rest. I have to say parenting is bloody hard work and if you are a stay at home mum like myself you put everything into it and want everything to be perfect and it will never be perfect and that is something I personally really need to come to terms with. I hope in time all the little niggles/concerns I have with my 3 year old DS will pass in time!!!???? OTHERWISE I WILL HAVE A NERVOUS BREAKDOWN!

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