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Toddler prefers to play alone

(10 Posts)
PumpkinPie2013 Mon 25-Apr-16 19:54:41

My son is 2.5 and goes to an excellent nursery that he loves. He is full time there while we work.

He is an only child and for various reasons that won't change. He is a happy, loving, intelligent little boy and nursery say he's doing very well.

Today at pick up, his key worker said that they have noticed recently that he isn't that keen on joining in group activities and seems to prefer to play alonesadhe talks about friends at nursery by name and she said he plays with them if they go to play with him but rarely seeks them out. They said he is very happy and still doing well so no other concern.

I feel so sad that he plays alonesad we don't see many other children but he does play with friends children if we see them. He has aunts/uncles/older cousins and grandparents who adore him and who he plays and interacts with so he can relate to others. He's also very cuddly.

Is /was anyone else's toddler like this and should I be worried?

I just can't help but feel sad for him and also guilty because maybe if he had siblings he would be different sad

LouBlue1507 Mon 25-Apr-16 20:15:47

Hi Pumpkin

I'm really surprised that the key worker has raised this, As children develop they transition through different stages of play.
Solitary - Like to play by themselves, no interaction
Parallel - around 2-3 years old - This is where children are happy to play along side other children but their play is separate with little interaction.
Associative Play -around 3-4 years old- In this stage children are still playing independently but are happy to do the same activity as everyone else e.g dress up. They begin to interact with other children in the form of sharing toys and commenting on each other's play.
Co - Operative Play - About 4+ years. This is when children really socialise and start to play with each other e.g. Games, role play etc.

I really wouldn't worry, your son sounds like he is the parallel stage of play which is the 'norm' for his age smile He'll start to interact and play with other children as he gets older and his confidence grows.

If you're still worried have a look at stages of play online and maybe show your LOs key worker too grin

Hope that helps xx

LHReturns Mon 25-Apr-16 22:57:01

OP you sound like such a lovely mummy.

Every word you wrote I have thought about with my 22 month old DS. While still very little I can plainly see that he deviates to solo play and quiet space in groups. He hates group activities, and will avoid anything that involves being in a circle, the centre of a circle, or joining in any team effort. Eg while he enjoys playing instruments (alone) he hangs back outside the circle at Monkey Music, and hates to get cosy with other toddlers. I can plainly see he quieter than the others, and requires less attention.

While LouBlue is absolutely right - I will still predict that my DS will continue to be an introvert (like his dad). For him he will relax when alone and gain his energy in his own private space.

It have never occurred to me that this makes him unhappy. He is a very self assured, happy little boy who enjoys his own company very much. He too is affectionate and cuddly, and many children seek him out to play. I bet your DS is really rather cool too!

I think your nursery are silly to mention this to you.

puglife15 Tue 26-Apr-16 05:42:47

It's normal but I worry too, my son is 3.5 and doesn't have any best friends at nursery or elsewhere despite being very chatty and loud (maybe that's the problem!). He's more interested in adults and older children. I just have to hope he'll get there eventually.

insancerre Tue 26-Apr-16 06:49:56

I'm an early years professional which means I've got a degree in early childhood studies and have a post grad qualification in child development too
What you describe is quite normal for 2 year olds and even some 3 and 4 year olds
I'm a bit surprised that the nursery have even raise this as an issue
Have they done a 2 yr check yet?
If there are no other concerns, I double be inclined to not take much notice

Sgoinneal Tue 26-Apr-16 07:00:01

My son's nursery have raised this as a problem with me - he's three next month and has always preferred adult company. Tbh though in our case I think they are pushing us towards an assessment for him as they're saying he doesn't do imaginative play (it's not his favourite, but he does it at home), he won't independently go and put his jacket on (again he might moan but he absolutely does this). We are definitely going to check in with the health visitor but it's making me feel (rightly or wrongly) like they're seeing him as a problem to be fixed, feels like there's something he 'can't do' all the time. sad they haven't mentioned all the positive things he can do, or enjoys.

In your case it sounds absolutely normal and like others have said he's very young. Remember a lot of kids don't set foot in a nursery setting until they are three.

PumpkinPie2013 Tue 26-Apr-16 22:03:34

Thank you for your reassuring replies smile

The two year check was done by my hv and everything was perfect. DS does lots of imaginative play and is independent in eating, helping with dressing etc so no other concerns at all.

I think sometimes he just likes to do his own things and play games with his toys (he talks to toys when playing with them)

Both me and my husband can be happy in our own company so possibly he takes after us to.

Thank you again smile

Sgoinneal Tue 26-Apr-16 22:15:10

Glad to hear it Pumpkin. My DH and I are the same - sometimes they are just a bit like their folks smile

Wincher Tue 26-Apr-16 22:22:49

Sounds totally normal. My 2.5 year old is the same. I'm slightly worried as nursery have said he doesn't talk much with them, though he talks a lot with me. His speech isn't brilliant but it's better than his brother's at the same age (though he is having S&L input at school now). What I've noticed is that he won't join in at nursery, playgroup etc in things like singing, but he acts it all out at home. At home he sings non-stop and also acts out things they do at nursery such as when the adults call them to sit down for storytime etc.

Interesting to note comments about introverts - both my husband and I are introverts and my older son is as well - looks like the toddler is the same. I kind of expected one of our children to be a raging extrovert and different to us, but somehow it doesn't look like that will happen!

JeanGenie23 Tue 26-Apr-16 22:28:01

I know it's a bit late but I also wanted to offer my reassurance. Some children, my DD included are quite happy in their own company. She definitely has moments where she wants interaction from me or other toddlers but she is very happy to sit on a cushion and flick through a book by herself!!

These skills will come in time smile

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