How do I encourage my toddler to play with a playmate?
I get this message a lot on my Instagram and Facebook messages, my followers seem to see Sven to be the happy-go-lucky kid and is friendly with everyone. What they don’t know is that, there was a time that I felt that Sven was a bit hostile to his playmates. I really don’t know how to respond or what to do at first, but eventually I was able to understand his feelings in certain situations.
Teaching your toddler to become a good playmate goes a long way which includes his social skills development. Even if you enjoy playing with your toddler but you must remember that children do learn a lot of things from playing with each other too. Sven has his own fears, desires and conditions when playing with other kids, sometimes he gets too bossy, there were moments he gets too loving and protective as well.
But the very first thing I did when he was playing with his cousin Andrei was to explain to him the conditions and environment. He may not understood it at first but in the long run with the familiarity of the play area and the people around him, he then gets it and comprehends each situation.
I always help Sven manage his emotions, he tends to become a cry baby when I am around so I always tell him to calm down, this way it helped him developed his empathy towards others and letting him express his needs and feelings without the expression of shouting or attacking others.
I also encourage play dates, that is why I sometimes ask my nephew to play with Sven if he is free from school. I also asks my friends who have toddlers if they are free for a play date. This way, your toddler will get use to playing along with other kids, again familiarity is important.
Another important lesson I’ve been teaching Sven is the process of waiting, it took a long time because Sven is a very impatient kid. He resorts to giving us his meltdowns when he doesn’t get what he wants.
Sven gets possessive sometimes too; that’s why it was hard for us to teach him to control his emotions but I always hold on to him , while he is having a meltdown and telling him positively why it is important to wait, after all the dramas, you get amazed how their emotions would suddenly shift and they will happily move on as if nothing had happened.
But at the end of the day as a parent you should stay calm. You must show your toddler that you can manage your emotions and set a good example for them. If you stay calm and soothe your child, they will eventually learn to soothe theirselves and manage their feelings on their own.
And remember kids are kids, if he or she is not yet ready for another playmate give them time. Never force anything on your child because as what I have observed it will only delay the process, your toddler needs to feel secure with their own feelings first before sharing their playtime with others. 🙂
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