Playing alongside other children is all you can expect from your toddler. At 18 months, they are still too focused on themselves to make really good playmates. But they can always practise.
Not a good playmate - yet
Toddlers aren’t sociable in the same way older children and adults are. For the most part, they find meeting other small children exciting and great fun. But they tend to look after number one first and see themselves as top of the list. They would rather take things than give them. The difference between right and wrong isn’t quite clear. By far the most important person is “me”, and nobody else.
’Parallel play’ is a well-recognised stage and part of growing up.
Practise playing together
In time, however, we learn to be friends and play cooperatively, if we get to practise playing, sharing and showing consideration.
So introduce your toddler to friends and play on a small scale. Begin with one friend. Encourage games that are played together, but don’t expect much. Stay close by, keep the peace, and remain neutral. Don't push things - it’s supposed to be fun for everyone.
Do you have any suggestions for games that toddlers can play together?
Tell us about them here!