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How do I get my toddler to interact with other toddlers?

My son is 18 months and has been in daycare since 10 months old, but he doesn't interact with other children. He plays and talks to his sister all the time, and he interacts with the caregivers but not the other kids. He just walks away from them and plays in the corner by himself or with one of the adults. They said that is pretty much how every day goes. He talks all the time, but never to the other kids. Not sure if it is something I should worry about since he does interact with us and his main caregivers at daycare.


Asked by AF4life at 7:41 PM on Jul. 3, 2013 in Toddlers (1-2)

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Answers (10)
  • I asked my MIL this when my kids were that age.She's a preschool teacher and has been for 30+ years. I remember her telling me that kids won't really play WITH each other until they're around 3. They'll play NEXT to each other at around 2 though.

    I wouldn't worry about it too much just yet.

    *side note: He's 18 months already??!!?! I remember when you were pregnant with him.

    Answer by Rosehawk at 7:53 PM on Jul. 3, 2013

  • Toddlers are ships in the night, for the most part. They play, but they're not really ready to interact with their peers at that age. I wouldn't worry about it, at least not for a while yet.

    Answer by Ballad at 7:53 PM on Jul. 3, 2013

  • Yeah, I was going to say pretty much what Rosehawk said. At this age they play tandem... he also might not find the other kids very interesting.

    Answer by Crafty26 at 9:06 PM on Jul. 3, 2013

  • I was going to say the same thing. Toddlers play side by side and preschoolers play together. Normal social skills.

    But sounds like your boy isn't playing side by side. I wouldn't be worried but I understand how that could make you feel. :(

    Hi btw.

    Answer by staciandababy at 8:09 PM on Jul. 3, 2013

  • I guess DD has always been very social and interactive with other kids, even as a baby, so it's odd to me. Especially when I walk into his room and see the whole class playing a game or listening to a story and my kid is in the far corner by himself.

    Comment by AF4life (original poster) at 8:00 PM on Jul. 3, 2013

  • Boys are so much different than girls. My daughter, 6, is WAY more chatty and social than her older brother, 9.

    Answer by Rosehawk at 8:03 PM on Jul. 3, 2013

  • It all comes with time, but you might run this by your pediatrician if being in a "far corner by himself" contiues much past age two. You also might read about how children progress from parrallel play to interactive play. Your library should have plenty of books on chiild development.

    Answer by silverthreads at 8:17 PM on Jul. 3, 2013

  • Two of my boys were pretty much always that way. They are adults now and perfectly normal but as children they already chose individual activities. But I'm pretty much like that too. Not a joiner at all. Never have been

    Answer by Nimue930 at 10:19 PM on Jul. 3, 2013

  • The fact that he interacts with you & with other adult caregivers is a good thing. His attachment to adults is more important than any orientation to other children. If he plays with his big sister and talks to her all the time, he knows how to interact with a peer. The combination of him being pretty self-directed AND interacting with the adults who care for him is very positive.
    Gordon Neufeld (Canadian developmental psychologist) has written a lot about this (the importance of being primarily oriented toward adults.)

    I guess being able to join in a group activity (listening to a story) that is a group experience of connecting individually (each child) with an adult (the storyteller) would seem positive, but maybe he does some of that earlier in the day & then at other times, what he happens to be doing trumps that. Parallel play is very normal for the age, but getting isolated & ignoring activities is different than that.

    Answer by girlwithC at 12:11 AM on Jul. 4, 2013

  • They did tell me that he is talking more around other kids, which is a good sign. (he has always been advanced in speech development, but never talks to other kids). The pediatricians are not really concerned about his development because he talks better than most 2 year olds (and is not behind in any other areas), he just doesn't really play with kids other than his sister. He likes to sit at the back of the room and dance.

    Comment by AF4life (original poster) at 8:21 AM on Jul. 7, 2013