MAJOR PLAYDATE DISASTER. 3.5 AND 6 Y. OLDS. Please show me the way! - Mothering Forums
Gentle Discipline > MAJOR PLAYDATE DISASTER. 3.5 AND 6 Y. OLDS. Please show me the way!
BellaClaudia's Avatar BellaClaudia 08:09 AM 02-23-2009
My 3.5 old DD has been invited to my dear friend's house to play with her DD who is 6.

Problem: My DD wants to play with that little girl and so does the other but ithe few times we went it ended up in tears and I cried too all the way home out of frustration...
My DD does not know how to play with this other girl and I don't know how to guide them.. what happens is that the older girl usually will bring a toy and my dd seats besides and is not allowed to touch it or only allowed to touch it in very limited manner..

In turns my daughter grabs the toy and she wants to play with it entirely..
so the other girl will try to take it away..

Part of the problem is that the older girl has rather strange toys and there is not much ways the two kids can play with it..

I find myself very frustrating trying to talk my daughter who is normally relatively good a sharing that at this point closes completly from the concept and I can understand why.. fair is fair.. so I don't want to do unjustice to her by pressing the issue why i see it does little good anyways..

Then the other mom stays entirely out of the conflicts and sometimes out of the room altoghether but if she is nearby she seat on the sofa while I am on the floor next to the girls... and smiling approvingly.. she would totally ignore the conflict.. I don't know.. is it because I am next to them? or is it because she does not care? she is laid back but then again.. I am not in the position to tell the older girl what to do in her own house.

I wonder if this is the way my friend is trying to build the self esteem of her child by entirely ignorning my child needs?

I am in the position of needing to go again there. Don't ask. so I am focusing on making it work. I know how many of you is so knowledgable in this kind of conflicts and can speak so beautifully about it in simple and constructive words showing the ways to solutions. Please help me. please!!!

I need to know:

* what should I do or say on entry to the other mama or girl? if there is a need for some kind of statement or suggestion?

* how should I approach the apparent and evitable problem?

* should I bring some toys that would be good to play wiht the older girl and how should I teach my child to share her toys with her who did not want to sher with her? or should she bring a toy and should I stay that there will be no sharing, it is just for her to play and older girl will have her toy or something of this nature which sounds very not friendly to start with ..

* are there any toys that they could share between those ages? without conflict?

* and how in heaven two children of that age gap do play together if ever?

* how should they play at this stage? and what is normal and what is not?

I don't know what to ask. I am just throwing what I can think of but if there is some specific knowledge that I am missing I will be happy to grasp.

please help and thank you in advance.

greenmama's Avatar greenmama 01:24 PM 02-23-2009
the older child will need to want to make this work for it to work, and her mother needs to help her. If she doesn't see the problem it probably won't be solved. If you can have an honest conversation about the different stages the kids are you might be able to get somewhere. You can also ask her if she has ideas of things your daughter would be capable of doing that her daughter would still enjoy. The more open ended the toys the more likely they can be played with by kids at different stages of development.
BellinghamCrunchie's Avatar BellinghamCrunchie 02:04 PM 02-23-2009
Originally Posted by BellaClaudia View Post
* how should they play at this stage? and what is normal and what is not?
The 6 year old controls the 3 year old, telling her what to do, what to wear, how to act, fixes her hair up, tries different clothes on her, and practices her leadership skills (e.g., is bossy). The 3 year old is mainly a very interesting doll.

Its really not much fun for a 6 year old to play with a 3 year old on an equal-footing basis, because the younger one just doesn't have the ability to play anywhere near the 6 year old's.

The only thing that has worked for us is to get involved in their play with them. In that way, we are all playing hide and seek together, or both are being pulled together in the wagon by mama, or we all sit at a table together playing with playdoh. Its doesn't really work to expect the 3 year old and the 6 year old to go off together and play, unless its one of those exceptional 6 year olds who really like pleasing the younger ones and making them laugh.
PajamaMama's Avatar PajamaMama 02:16 PM 02-23-2009
I have dealt with this scenario with girls almost the exact same ages and what worked for me and my friend was to make sure there was something like a large quantity of playdoh, or plenty of paints and water, or something like that so they could do their thing individually but near each other. I don't think trying to share one toy is going to work out very well for them at this stage...
wetcement101's Avatar wetcement101 02:24 PM 02-23-2009
Can you set them up to sit side by side with their own materials to do art projects?
I've had a lot of success doing food prep assembly line projects- one kid tore apart lettuce, the older kid chopped veggies. Also decorating cookies was a big hit.
homebirthing's Avatar homebirthing 02:34 PM 02-23-2009
Toys that can't be shared should be put completely away.
ShwarmaQueen's Avatar ShwarmaQueen 02:49 PM 02-23-2009
To me the age difference seems odd. Developmentally, they're probably in totally different stages. Isn't there a younger child your DC can play with?
tbone_kneegrabber's Avatar tbone_kneegrabber 06:20 PM 02-24-2009
I am kinda laughing at "strange toys" that there is no way for two kids to play with. I think I need an example.

But anyway, I would bring something from home, playdoh like some suggested or a ball or bubbles etc. Maybe something that the 6 year old could *teach* the 3yo. If your dd can't blow bubbles yet, bring bubbles and say "6yo can you show 3yo how to blow bubbles? Can you teach her how to do it? Ok let 3yo try. Wow you are a really good teacher 6yo!"

Or bring 2 coloring books from the $1 store and some crayons, "hey I got you guys these books to color here's one for you and one for you have fun!" etc

You could tell your friend and her daugher "we are working on taking turns/sharing with 3yo. Can you 6yo show 3yo how you take turns and share? She looks up to you because you are older, if you would help by taking turns sharing she could learn a lot."

6yo are kinda bossy. So I think that's normal, but maybe if you set them up with something so that she can feel *important* she might be okay.

Also when it happens that 6yo doesn't want to share, if saying "can 3yo have a turn when you are finished?" doesn't work, turn to the other mom and say, "yeah sometimes 3yo doesn't want to share/take turns and we are working on ways to deal with that. What do you do with 6yo when that happens?"
oliversmum2000's Avatar oliversmum2000 08:28 PM 02-24-2009
Originally Posted by homebirthing View Post
Toys that can't be shared should be put completely away.
chfriend's Avatar chfriend 08:35 PM 02-24-2009
I've got an 8 and a 4 year old. They can play together but it's a stretch sometimes.

Have you thought of bringing along a bag of fun stuff for your child to share with the 6 year old?

Especially if you're crying in frustration, a little extra planning to keep your child occupied while you're visiting with your friend might make your time more fun.
mama_mojo's Avatar mama_mojo 11:23 PM 02-24-2009
Originally Posted by BellinghamCrunchie View Post
The 6 year old controls the 3 year old, telling her what to do, what to wear, how to act, fixes her hair up, tries different clothes on her, and practices her leadership skills (e.g., is bossy). The 3 year old is mainly a very interesting doll.

For two of this age difference who do not know each other, even this is a GOOD scenario. My own sweet loving considerate 7yo DD simply does not have it in her make up to share, and it has gotten much worse in the last 12 to 18 months. I was the same way, and I am a very generous adult, so I have hope for my DD. However, my DD would simply adore the above suggestion; she would love being so in control. Heck, this is how she plays with her sister (3.5) all the time. If you can get the play pointed this direction, they will play independently. Just stay close enough to hear/see that the bossing isn't getting ugly.
LynnS6's Avatar LynnS6 05:49 AM 02-25-2009
I would set up something so that there's a project both can work on -- baking together, for example, or art projects that are easy, or planting seeds. Something that they can each do, but have fun together.

But I agree, for the age difference, it's hard. My kids are 3 years apart, and while they play together quite nicely, it's only really been since dd turned 4 that they've really PLAYED together in an imaginative and interesting way.
BellaClaudia's Avatar BellaClaudia 10:25 AM 02-26-2009
thank you for all the valuable suggestions.
i am dilligently studying them and trying to work on solutions that will allow for peacful playdate.

By now I have better understanding of their differences due to the play styles appropriate for their ages but still would appreciate more suggestions on actuall ideas of what they can do together because many of you suggested thigns that are rather out of the picture...

cooking.. there is no way we can actually set up cooking there.. just no way.

planting seeds.. I don't see exactly happening it in the middle of winter inddors.. and doing it in pots.. that is beyond the spectrum of a simple play date I have in mind..

is there anything else .. specifically naming what they could sucessfully together?


thanks for all suport so far.

HeatherHeather's Avatar HeatherHeather 11:17 AM 02-26-2009
Off the top of my head

dress up
building a fort