Originally Posted by serenbat
I don't feel playdates are helpful at this age- you are the one picking her friends, you are picking children younger than her and who you want- if this was you would you like someone to do that to you?
Why rush things here? She is 4, life is not measured by the number you have and at 4 is happens to be just fine to have NO friends! It won't effect her life in any way- 4 is young, she is meeting and socializing at public places with others, that enough right now, that's just fine!
Let her alone, if she likes adults- that's OK too!
As she ages, she can see people and children she likes at non home events where she is not placed in a position to have her things touched- look at it this way, do you cook or do crafts? would you like someone touching your things? Seeing others at a park is fine and enough and when she ages she will change and let it happen at it's pace, not yours.
I would comment on the fact that yes playdates are very helpful to social growth at age 4. It is a great time of social change for kiddos. They go from parallel play to interactive play. Sometimes that transition is very rocky. But the dynamic is different for interactions with younger/older/adults/same age peers. There are different social cues, interactions, and expectations for each group and that is very complicated for the 4-6 yr old to navigate. It can be overwhelming and confusing-- depending on personality, different kids handle it differently (avoidance of kids, enjoyment, wary caution, enjoy one on one but not large groups, etc). Also a young 4 will be more along the transition than a 4-turning 5 yr old.
Are you Homeschooling or going to public school? If you are going to public school- there is a whole set of social skills kiddos will need to develop as soon as school starts. It can be overwhelming to some kids. But at 4- there is one year before K starts. If you are HS, you may want to participate in HS groups that would require interaction with mixed age or same age peers. It will not be all parent-child led that preschool activities tend to be.
Yes, if she likes adults that is OK. But is is just you and your DH or other adults too? At 4, kiddos need to be exploring social skills that broaden their standard exposure. Their world gets bigger and some of that is learning how to interact with other people (of all ages).
Most kids have to interact with a lot of kids before they really find out what kind of personality works for them and their play style. It is a bit of trial and error to be honest as they learn, they cant learn what people they want to play with if there is no exposure.
But I agree with Serenbat, that keep the same-age peer interactions away from home. To young children- someone else touching their 'stuff' is much more threatening than playing in a community place or 'neutral' location. Try a playground, play room, preschool activities, etc. Keep it short and simple.
Originally Posted by Emmeline II
It could be that she is mature for her age and just doesn't find her peers interesting playmates. I read a thread on this somewhere here but I can't remember which board. Homeschooling can work well for this if you have a homeschooling group with older children.
Another possibility, which is the case for my ds, is that he has social skills deficits (social reciprocity and pragmatics) seemingly related to ADHD/Aspergers. Ds tends to get along better with younger children and older children than peers. He also has a tendency to focus on toys rather the people when he goes to neighbors' houses (we never did playdates though). Ds does like to play with other children but he also values his alone time.
I agree. One of my DDs has social skills deficits. It reflected in her non-willingness to play with same age peers (except her twin). She actively went to adults or older/younger kids (babies). Kids her age were overwhelming and unpredictable which for her personality made her nervous. She was too busy they would do XYZ to enjoy playing with them, she had trouble navigating the social cues that her peers displayed. Through social skill play, play acting, and lots of little bits of exposure she now enjoys her peers at age 6- though when under duress does retreat to playing with familiar adults. She also likes to play alone a lot more than other kids her age. That is OK, but experience has given her some skills to make it a less unpredictable and stressful time. She has a few select friends she enjoys, but it took time and trial/error to find out who she found playing with more enjoyable.
Originally Posted by tbone_kneegrabber
The big difference between playing with parents/adults and playing with kids is that adults have very little vested interest in the play. If the kid wants the blue car what do I care I'll take the red car. The kid wants to be mommy and I'm the baby, ok. The kid wants to build a zoo out of blocks let's do it!
But when there is another kid that kid has much stronger feelings about play. They may really want the blue car too. They might want to the mommy or not even want to play family. They want to build a house not a zoo. Etc etc etc.
When your dd plays with you she is probably in charge of what you play, how you play, and when to change the game because frankly adults don't really care that much. You aren't going to burst into tears and fall on the ground because you wanted a turn with the blue car, ya know.
Relationships with other kids require very different skills. I have seen this phenomenon with many, many kids (as a parent, teacher, and friend of people with kids).
This really can have a big impact. A child playing with an adult knows that although an adult may have preferences, they will be polite, not grab, and respect the childs emotions/property. Other kids may or may not do those things.
Playing with adults (espec. familiar ones!) is comforting and predictable. Non-threatening.
Originally Posted by serenbat
I have such issues with force like this- we don't do this in the real world with adults, we do not force adults to play with others they do not get along with but yet we want children to do this-why?
It is not the same as working with a mixed age groups, that is where school and HS groups come into play- at a much older age. We are asking children to form friendships and play with others and not allowing them to form them on their own at their own pace and with their own comfort level, instead we set up adult expectations often based on adult formed groups with the main interest of those adults. Just because you like the parent doesn't mean your child will love the other child- that goes for cousins too, yet so many don't get this.
Children can learn how to be kind, nice and polite to other children without being placed into forced play setting.
anytime you force a situation that clearly is causing stress is not good IMO if she enjoys being a setting (outside of a organized playdate) and other children are around that is fine, I'm sure she will find what makes her comfortable - you did not state that you do much with older children, maybe she would thrive more in older settings
my DS can't stand being around children who do not talk much- one of the reasons he turns to much older children or adults- he likes vocal interaction, he is vocal when he plays and will not play with a child that does not communicate and reciprocate with him
also not all children enjoy having siblings, some don't right from the start and never out grow it, many only children grow up very happy to not be around lots of others
How will kids learn to be polite to other kids if they do not interact with them?
I would not 'force' a playdate that obviously is very stressful. But I would say that kids and adults learn through new situations-- low levels of stress are OK. They expand comfort zones and expose kids to new experiences. Some kids are more open to 'change' and others actively resist it.
I agree to make her comfortable- but also to scaffold on what she is OK with. If she is OK at a playground. Start there. Kids on the playground should be able to positively interact with other kids at 4 (esp. late 4), not always with great finesse, but they should be trying out fledgling social skills (how to ask to play, playing/talking to other kids, etc)
Yes, kids will be in situations (much like adults sometimes) that they have to interact with kids they do/dont like. In a public school setting, a HS activity, a preschool class, swim/dance/gymnastics class, etc there is likely to be kids that clash personality wise with other kids. Kids need to learn the tools and skills to get along for that time period so they can learn/participate.etc.
And yes, some kids are introverts and simply enjoy their own company. But they need to learn to get along in groups and it should be done in small developmentally appropriate ways.
Originally Posted by faithsstuff
I was just reading about this in Playful Parenting. There was a study cited with kids of this age that they would chose to play with their parents over kids their age. I have an almost 4 year old as well and sometimes he needs to play where he can be in charge. That's how they work out issues/fears/assimilate new learining, through play. Why do kids want to do that with other kids, they don't know how to deal with conflict yet. I wouldn't worry.
And just a note from personal experiance, I can't think of one really good behavour ds has picked up from playing with other kids his age or younger. He learned to spit, play violently and tease from other kids his age. I'd rather he play with us for a little while longer :)
Yes, I agree that learning to deal with conflict at 3-7/8 is a fairly complicated and individual process. But they also learn from observation of peers actions, they see peers learning alongside them and that is much different than learning from an adult. Not better or worse- just different.
My kids have learned a lot of good behaviors from other kids. They have observed friends being very caring toward little siblings (my DDs do not have any younger siblings) and that is wonderful for them to observe. They also have seen their peer express empathy and comfort to one another. They have seen peers sharing toys, food, and art supplies..Again, a child observing a child doing these things is very powerful.
Simple explanation that a toddler is young and cant talk/move/wait etc very well yet often suffices for explanation for unwanted behaviors that are witnessed. That is is something DDs learned at that age is good- they can see the social growth they have made and it is is a learning experience.
Originally Posted by mckittre
Mine is only 3 and a half, but he doesn't play with other kids either. I do "playdates" anyway, not for him, but because I like hanging out with my friends who are parents. I don't make a big deal out of whether he plays with the other kids or not in those situations, but I figure he's at least exposed to them that way - and can decide to play if and when he wants to.
That is a good idea. At 3.5 some kids wont play with others from a developmental viewpoint. But they observe and can participate as they want with the opportunity to do so is there.
Originally Posted by mtbmomma
In most of my 3-4 year old classrooms, the kids enjoyed playing together and seemed eager to see one another. We just spent a week with cousins of similar ages and DD was so overwhelmed with having to share space/toys by the end of the week. I really think after observing her more that it is a mixture of age/personality. Which is fine by me, and I too would prefer to stay away from the play dates.
As an adult, a week with lots of relatives is overwhelming!
I taught preschool and most of the kids liked to interact, but always a few were observers and liked to play alone. BUT but age 4.5 most of them had some rudimentary social skills in place to play with other children. In a preschool setting, it was a safe structured neutral environment that allowed kids to explore interactions and skills slowly. They have learned to wait in line, wait a turn, take turns speaking, share their experiences, and work with peers to complete a task (build a tower, puzzle, collage, etc). Basic life skills that come with practice either in a preschool setting, a HS group setting, or community events.
She may do best one on one for her personality and also in a short bits and a non-personal space.
A child used to just themselves and other adults in the house may find a bunch of people all at once a bit of sensory overload!
Have fun this Fall/Winter! 4 is a fun age ( one of my favorites to teach!)-, I hope you and your DD have a great year!