Put more than one toddler in a room with toys and it’s a recipe for disaster. We want our toddlers to play together but often it causes more friction between you and your friend than it is worth it. So how do you do it and still remain friends?
Rule # 1. Don’t do the play date thing every day, maybe once or twice a week. It’s hard work, for you and for the toddler who is expected to share and play nicely.
Rule # 2. How to tell if it’s too much? If he happily looks forward to going to play with his friend, then he is up to it. If he moans and complains that little Dylan doesn’t share he might not be in the mood for playing and being on his best behaviour.
Rule # 3. They can’t cope with long play date sessions. An hour to an hour and a half is all a two year old can muster. So don’t make the play date an extended lunch with your friend to catch up on gossip.
Rule # 4. Avoid play dates during his nap time or when he is hungry. This will just make him cranky and less likely to behave.
Rule # 5. Don’t make a party of it. Two toddlers is hard enough to cope with but three is just looking for trouble.
Rule # 6. Be sensitive to him sharing HIS toys. You don’t share all your favourite things. Let him decide before hand what they are not allowed to play with and put it away safely. This gives your toddler some control and may make sharing easier.
Rule # 7. Start with a snack, just make sure everyone has the same number of cheese sticks on their plate.
Rule # 8. Keep an eye out all the time. This will help prevent accidents and keep the peace.
Rule # 9. Don’t be afraid to discipline both children and don’t take your guests side just because they are the guests. This won’t sit well with your own toddler. If sharing is a problem use a timer to indicate whose turn it is.
Rule #10. The more we socialise the better we get at it. Persevere it will get better.
Toptots Early Learning SA