[Image via Ivan Nikolov/WENN.]
As toddlers grow & mature, parents should think seriously about having their precious one branch out and meet kids their own age since it will be essential to developing their social skills.
That doesn't mean you just have to stick 'em in any old sandbox and see what happens - you can have a little more input than that!
"Teach conflict resolution:
Early in toddlerhood, toy grabbing and aggression can make for tricky play dates, and later in the preschool years, as kids have big ideas and big feelings, it’s common for squabbles to break out.
Rather than swooping in with a solution or distraction right away, consider conflicts a learning opportunity for your toddler. Your goal is not necessarily to smooth the waters (avoid jumping in with, “Give that back to your friend,” or “Play nicely”), but to teach mini-lessons of listening, self-expression, and problem solving. If you sense a problem brewing, take a minute to get down on your kid’s level. When someone swipes your toddler’s plaything, say to your child, “Were you still working with that? Then tell Aiden, I’m still working with that.” If preschool buddies are starting to fight over a difference of opinion, step in with something like, “Hey, I notice you both have some big ideas. Let’s talk about what’s going on.” Allow each tot to say what she wants and follow up with, “So what could we do here?” At first this dialogue will be short and mostly directed by you, but as kids reach two-and-a-half or three, they have the verbal skills to contribute more. Over time, this practice really adds up.
Talk it through later:
When it comes to helping your toddler make sense of her relationships, debriefing is key. As you’re riding home from an event, talk through what happened (both good and bad): “Hey, I noticed that you and Jane had different ideas about how to play family, but then you worked it out. How did you do that?” Or “When Alex grabbed that toy it really upset you, huh? You took some space and calmed your body?” Of course, you may end up being the only one doing the chatting, but even asking questions can be useful to your toddler, because it gets her thinking and helps her make sense of how relationships work."
For more information on how to find the most suitable play dates for your toddler, go on and check out BABBLE!