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How to Develop Your Toddler’s Social Life

by Jessica B. | July 27th, 2015 | Infants/Toddlers, Social

toddler (400x400)It can start to feel a little isolating if you are spending your days caring for a young toddler, and you may start to think it is important to hang out a bit with kids the same age as your child. While toddlers don’t play well together, they often enjoy parallel play and the stimulation of having other kids around. Here are a few tips for building up your toddler’s social life.

1) Free Playground Play – It may seem counter-intuitive, but when you are at the playground with your toddler, make sure to give them a little space to interact with others their age without intruding. They may be a little rough handed at first, but that’s OK as long as the other parents do not object. Sometimes toddler play may seem ‘unfair’ and they will eventually need a bit of steering, but give them a little bit of time to suss things out all on their own — it is how they learn best.

2) Play Dates– Toddlers cannot make their own times to play, so try to book a few play dates at your home with friends. This will give a chance for your child to interact in an area where they feel secure. It may also mean a few arguments over playing with toys, but steer your child in the right direction, and your child should be parallel playing in no time.

3) Older children – If your child is an only child, you may try to play a bit around some older children. Many older kids are great with younger kids, and enjoy interacting with them. This can give your child a chance to mimic older children’s play and to try something different. Sometimes older children can play a bit rough, so make sure you supervise the actions so that no one has responsibility they cannot handle.

4) Gym class – A lot of parents love to sign up for classes, but I don’t always think these are the best way to socialize. There are way too many ‘grownup’ rules involved, and not enough opportunity to interact freely with children. It can be a good way to get your child used to a classroom setting, but if you want to socialize, give your child a chance to interact without intruding so much unless there is a sign of danger.

5) Daycare – The best way to get your child to socialize a bit, is to give them a few hours a week in daycare. This time, without a parent, can give them a chance to learn about the world on different terms and lean on children their own age. As your toddler gets older, consider enrollment in a daycare for as little as half a day a week to give them this unique opportunity.

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