Do Toddlers Have Friends?

1 – 2 year olds

Research conducted in the past five years has changed the way experts view child-to-child interaction. It was believed, in the past, that very you children play only side-by side with very little interaction. Social interaction for kids 1 – 2 years is fun time to socially interact as well as to push toys around the room with a friend. When your little one has a play date , he learns from what the other child does, observes how he does it, and notices the other child’s actions .

Toddlers do not express friendship in the same way as an older child, but they are forging a bond. They watch each other carefully and mime each other’s actions. They will express delight when they see each other.

Remember, when dealing with a very young child, they have some “caveman-like qualities “such as hitting him over the head with his blocks. Toddlers are not able to look at another child and think, “Oh, he really likes that toy, I’ll wait till he is finished. More likely, he will grab the toy which may cause some biting. Hence, parental monitoring is essential for this age group. 

  1. Timing: Your toddler needs to be well rested and fed before a play date
  2. Limit participants: Very young children tend to do better in groups of two
  3. Have back-up: Since children of this age tend to imitate one another, try to have many copies of favorite toys so they can easily mimic each other so they will not squabble over a toy.
  4. Melt downs: Children of this age group can only play together for short periods of time. 30 minutes is usually perfect. 

2 – 3 year olds

Big changes occur at these ages in social development. Kids have a sense of loyalty so if another child gets hurt , a toddler or preschooler will pat him to make him feel better.

Older toddlers and preschoolers have the emotional and cognitive skills to show real affection.

They choose a friend with whom they have a real emotional connection, and they imitate each other.

They will choose a small space or “cubby hole” called “fort building” by development specialists, where just the two of them can play together. They  know how to make each other laugh and also get on each other’s nerves.

Once your child starts getting along well with another child, set up play opportunities with the other family and take turns going to each other’s homes.

A playground or indoor gym, such as Baby Power Forever Kids where they can chase each other around is a great way to keep toddlers actively busy and happy.

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