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Toddler vs. older kids at park

My 20 months old loves to go to the park. But when we are there she IMMEDIENTLY runs straight for the older kids (like 7-15yr olds!) and wants to play with them. Especially boys. But naturally she is to young to do some of the stuff they do and cant quiet "keep up". Plus the kids usually find it annoying or only slightly amusing, IF they even notice her at all.
But this makes mommy very...well...annoyed. I love that she apparently thinks she's older then she really is. That she wants to do whatever they do and gives it her best try. But i end up being the "bad guy" when i have to tell her that they are to old for her to play with and she needs to keep out of there way. She gets upset and usually just keeps trying. I eventually get to frustrated that she wont just play on her own or with someone closer to her age that i want to leave. So i'm at a loss.
Anyone experience this? How would you handle it?

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Asked by LisaLittleOne at 8:08 PM on Apr. 16, 2009 in Toddlers (1-2)

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Answers (6)
  • I have to keep being the bad guy. Picture this from the other kids and parents point of view. Some little kid they don't know wants to join in with their game. It's their play time too. Also it's not safe for her to try to play with kids who may not have any idea how to play safely with her.

    If you have a friend in the neighborhood or someone who could meet you that might help. But ultimately you have to keep your baby safe.

    Answer by teamquinn at 8:18 PM on Apr. 16, 2009

  • I have experienced this before, from both ends. The 4-year-old I had loved to play with the smaller children, since he had a 2-year-old sister. He was very curious, friendly, and gentle.
    I realize it's a lot of work for you, but try to play with her- if the kids are playing tag, pick her up and be her legs. I've had to do this with a toddler before. It helps with their socialization skills and makes for happy babies (or what we like to think of as babies).

    Answer by KristenDanielle at 8:19 PM on Apr. 16, 2009

  • And of course that's only if the other kids are receptive- if they're not, someone else has already provided a very good suggestion: age-appropriate play dates! If your toddler is drawn to other children, she needs to be able to explore socially in order to develop at her own healthy pace :)

    Answer by KristenDanielle at 8:21 PM on Apr. 16, 2009

  • was she adopted? sometimes children adopted from areas such as china develop attachment disorders as they have never seen men, and then always want to be around big boys and men.

    that aside, my daughter has 3 older brothers, so her preference is the older boys too! i redirect her to children her own size as much as possible.

    Answer by trepsica at 11:42 PM on Apr. 16, 2009

  • Nope. She is my own flesh and blood.
    She is also an only child and will likely remain so.
    I have redirected her many of times to kids near her age but she seems to care less for them. It rare to ever see one but apparently they arent a "challenge" to her i guess. She is very active and rather tomboy-ish. But she IS super social so i dont get it.
    Playdates are hard to come by here. I tend to feel like the only one with a toddler sometimes. But i do put myself out there as much as i can. But until i find someone its just me and her and who ever shows up at that park that day.

    Answer by LisaLittleOne at 12:09 AM on Apr. 17, 2009

  • My son tried to do this yesterday where we live. He was walking and saw some other kids playing, they were around 7ish and he walked over to play with them. I picked him up and said no babe their too old for you to play with...1. i didnt know the kids and 2. i already saw the way they were being rough so i didnt want him to play with them. So i walked him away, he was upset but i redirected his focus by saying lets race, ill race you home. One of the little girls mad a rude remark she said We're not too old, what is that lady talking about i have a little brother...and thats exactly why im glad he didnt play with them lol

    Answer by MommatoCJ at 9:42 AM on Apr. 17, 2009

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