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Playdate failure: where did I go wrong???

My daughter had her first playdate today at our house with a little boy her age (16 months). At first, she was excited to see him, and she waved, said hi, said his name, tried to hand him toys, etc. He was shy at first, but warmed up and started playing with toys. Annika started to get possessive with her toys and didn't want him to touch anything. Then, when he walked up to her or touched her she freaked and screamed! Whenever he made happy loud or yelling sounds she would yell back and scream and cry, then run to me and scramble for me to pick her up. I'm just so confused!!! She has NEVER acted this way. But, she has never had a friend over since she was a very little baby. I feel like a failure as a mom to not have exposed her to other children before. I couldn't help it though because I didn't know any. So, is this behavior normal? How do I make this easier and pleasant for her? Where did I go wrong?

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Asked by laadeedah at 2:11 PM on Feb. 21, 2009 in Toddlers (1-2)

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Answers (9)
  • haha sorry but isnt on you she is still little and its gonna take a few try's.. and maybe it was fun at first and then she was like wait those are my toys its pretty normal.. IT DOES NOT MAKE U A FAILURE AT ALL

    Answer by Anonymous at 2:17 PM on Feb. 21, 2009

  • I dont think you've failed at all. Did the other child bring some of his toys over? Maybe you can have more guided play. You can encourage sharing and verbally reward her for sharing with other children. She won't know she is supposed to share how to unless you teach her.

    Answer by MamaChamp at 2:21 PM on Feb. 21, 2009

  • Yes mom it is normal, she is getting use to someone else, and that will take some time, as for sharing, well most kids that age have not learned to share, that will happen around 18 months to 2 years, once they do start to share, dont freak when they still fight over toys. Social skills are important, keep doing the playdates, keep them short, and let her know it is ok if he/she plays with her toys, have the other mom bring toys too. For my kids I had two of everything, because what the other kid has the other one thinks it is more fun and then wants it too...LOL
    You did nothing wrong, give it time,

    Answer by midnightmoma at 2:22 PM on Feb. 21, 2009

  • Yes that is normal. Usually it's best for young children to set up playdates at a neutral location, like a park. Has nothing to do with you not socializing's just her age.

    I would not expect playdates to go perfect ever either. Kids of all ages have different issues on playdates. It's all developmentally appropriate. They are still learning..and it's all part of the experience.


    Answer by J9Mommy at 2:23 PM on Feb. 21, 2009

  • Sounds like she was excited with the idea of having someone visit, but the "newness" of the whole thing wore off pretty quickly. Different kids react to stimulus in different ways so what's normal for one may not be normal for another. If you try and meet at a neutral place then this could make the transition easier. Another trick is to not have any "favorite" toys available for the kids to play with, this can provoke possessive behavior because small kids may feel they need to protect their "things". Since spring is on the way, then you could try a day out at the park and bring a couple of (almost) identical toys for the kids to "have" you don't want them exactly the same so they can identify who gets which.
    Good luck!

    Answer by indigostone at 2:23 PM on Feb. 21, 2009

  • She is still young.. I don't think you failed at all.. there are somethings you can start doing now, that she is a little older.. perhaps taking her to a few parks or getting her out and around other children now that the weather is going to get better soon. Most of it is probably her just being a little uncertain, and is waiting for mommy to show her it is fun to make friends.. so get out there and have some fun.. she will start to enjoy it after awhile.

    Answer by xxhazeldovexx at 2:24 PM on Feb. 21, 2009

  • Don't feel bad mama. Playdates take some getting used to. Be sure to schedule them for the morning when toddlers are at their best. Limit the play date to one hour to start. Once the babies get to know each other they'll be able to play together a little longer. In the beginning you may have to do a lot of guided play as a PP suggested but she'll catch on. It doesn't mean you won't have to intervene when someone isn't sharing but if you continue to have regular playdates it'll get better.

    Answer by twinclubmom at 2:38 PM on Feb. 21, 2009

  • normal. you're not a failure. and don't apologize for lack of other kids. i am guessing she was a very healthy child right?

    Answer by princezzmommie at 7:22 PM on Feb. 21, 2009

  • we have a playdate group that meets every monday, rotating houses every week. these kids have know each other and played together on a weekly basis since they were 5 months old. (they are all nearing two now) THIS HAPPENS EVERY WEEK. i think it's hard on toddlers to have someone invading their home turf. i usually put away a couple of abel's favorite toys (the ones he will FREAK if anyone touches). i don't think children should have to share EVERYTHING. keep trying mama, it will get better. and it's a great opportunity to introduce the "sharing" concept.

    Answer by abelsmama07 at 9:36 AM on Feb. 22, 2009

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