How do you find other precocious toddlers like yours? - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 12 Old 07-28-2013, 06:22 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I'm so frustrated, I have read article after article talking about the importance of finding an intellectual match for your child - someone your child's age but who can carry conversations and won't look at your child like he/she is a space alien when he/she uses full sentences to talk to them.. BUT WHERE CAN YOU FIND THOSE OTHER KIDS? We have done play dates, play groups, story times, etc. but can't find anyone. Any ideas? My child is just under two.
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#2 of 12 Old 07-28-2013, 07:00 PM
 
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I don't have a magic answer, except continuing to try different types of activities. My DD just played with older kids, and it was great for her. When they are 2, 3, 4 or sometimes even 5, the older kids don't seem to care about playing with a younger child as long as they can find common ground. I'm finding now that DD is 4 and the kids she matches best with are late 5's or even 6's that she is having a little more trouble with being tagged as a pesky little kid, even though she can easily keep up with them mentally and verbally. But not physically. So I suppose I'm eagerly awaiting insight on the same topic as well!

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#3 of 12 Old 07-28-2013, 07:05 PM
 
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I don't think there are many kids under 2 that can carry on conversations. I think the best way to go about helping your child 'have friends' is by becoming friends with a mom that has similar parenting and or other things in common with you. One child will have strengths the other does not, they will learn and build on each other.

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#4 of 12 Old 07-28-2013, 10:53 PM
 
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I think the importance of an intellectual-and-age match social relationship for kids can be rather over-rated, and it's certainly not crucial prior to school age. My kids' intellectual needs were met mostly by adults prior to age 4 or 5, and their developing social needs were satisfied thereafter by multi-age groups and friendships.

I'm not saying such friendships can't be special if they happen, but my kids have had some pretty special friendships despite not having "gifted" peers. I don't think such relationships are really so important that you have to start stressing over them with a 1-year-old.

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#5 of 12 Old 07-29-2013, 02:14 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by moominmamma View Post

I think the importance of an intellectual-and-age match social relationship for kids can be rather over-rated, and it's certainly not crucial prior to school age. My kids' intellectual needs were met mostly by adults prior to age 4 or 5, and their developing social needs were satisfied thereafter by multi-age groups and friendships.

I'm not saying such friendships can't be special if they happen, but my kids have had some pretty special friendships despite not having "gifted" peers. I don't think such relationships are really so important that you have to start stressing over them with a 1-year-old.

Miranda

 

I agree with this. Every under two does best socializing with adults no matter what their ability. I wouldn't read too much into the response of other 2-year-olds. They aren't actually looking at her like she's an alien. They have a limited understanding of age and others being their age. They haven't developed expectations of how their peers should act. They may not understand her but they aren't judging her.

 

My own didn't really develop strong relationships with peers until around 8 when they started doing theatre in a multi-age environment. Not all their friends are gifted but they all share interests. These bonds have been strong and continue even when the older kids go off to college. 

 

I joined a playgroup when DD was almost 2 more for myself than her. I needed some friends with kids. When I found a group that *I* worked in, who shared *MY* interests, who did the sorts of activities *I* enjoyed with my kids, the kids got along well enough. They all still preferred the attention of adults to their peers. Most ended up on the gifted scale but their friendships pretty much died when school started. We are having a little reunion later this summer as the kids are all 16 now. It'll mean more to us as parents than them lol.

 

Don't stress your DD having "friends" at this age. The preschool years are less about friendship and more about learning how to manage themselves.


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#6 of 12 Old 07-29-2013, 07:53 AM
 
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A few places my dc found kindred spirits -

 

- our friends' and co-workers' children (we were living in a university town, I was attending grad school and our group had lots of professional/academic-oriented families)

- multi-age playgroups, activities and programs - especially in places like the library, the Children's Museum and the Art Gallery

- pre-school with multi-age groups (it was a Montessori program - my dc started when they were just a little older, age 2.5 y.o)

 

I also noticed that they tend to find each other in a crowd. In the sandbox, the 2 strangers who are playing "paleontologists" with their toy dinosaurs, while reciting the names of the different geologic periods, are likely to discover each other and become fast friends quickly. Don't give up. Keep on trying those play groups and story times. You never know when your dc will find someone with similar interests. 

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#7 of 12 Old 07-29-2013, 11:55 AM
 
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I noticed with my son that he does best with children with complementary temperaments. He is six and so far has preferred to p,ay with girls because (generally) the play is more organized and cooperative, without the threat of becoming too rough (which makes him anxious). Older, kind children are his favorite, but he also likes to mentor younger children in his imagination games-- and younger kids are less aware and more accepting of his goofiness. Intense children his own age (even gifted) bring out his own intensity- usually resulting in a discipline problem (this is getting better with age).

This doesn't exactly answer your question, but a person that your daughter feels happy with, who doesn't make her feel bad or anxious, makes a good friend. I see now that my son is older he has developed some interests (Legos, art, board games, etc.) that he may want to share with a like minded friend, but it's still emergent.
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#8 of 12 Old 07-29-2013, 02:23 PM
 
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Even if you find them, it won't help so much at this point.

 

In my experience, even if those very precocious toddlers appear to be able to hold a conversation, and to engage in sophisticated play, they can really only do it with an adult, or a much older, indulgent kid (usually a girl) who feels a bit like a bit sister or a very young babysitter towards a very little one. They have the vocabulary and the grammar, but lack the back-and-forth skills, the cooperative skills, the theory of mind that older children have. It's a different developmental trajectory and while some kids may be precocious in those social skills as well, it is usually not enough for them to actually play with kids who sound like them when they speak (ie kids 2 or 3 years older).

 

That said, DD has a little friend, only six weeks older, who is even more verbal than she is, a third child in a very verbal family, and those two girls do play together in ways DS1 was able to play with other kids only when about three years older than she is now. However, there is still a lot of parallel play, not that many conversations, and a definite need for a grownup to be around to make sure that there are always two items of whatever they are playing with, as sharing or taking turns simply isn't developed yet -  they could talk about it, but they can't do it, they haven't got the socio-emotional maturity. However, she's just turned three, DD will do so soon - when they were under two, they would enjoy each other's company, but hold conversations with the adults around them. I have to say that they did not appear as confusing to one another as very verbal toddlers and non-verbal toddlers appear to be to one another - I do know what you mean with the "alien" comment.

That this little girl happens to be the daughter of friends is sheer luck -  I wish they could go to preschool together but they are in different districts. DS1 likes to play with her older sister and brother, but it has been only for the last 1.5 years or so that he could actually engage in proper play with the brother, who is almost three years older, even though they share intellectual interests, or with the older sister, who is almost his age, but was somewhat delayed in speech so not very compatible in other respects. As children mature, it does get somewhat easier, though for some reason, an age difference still helps (ideally, about 1.5 years older or younger. Seriously).

 

So I guess there's hope, but no plan I could recommend. You've already gotten some good suggestions - look for parents YOU get along with, usually helps the children get along too. If the playgroups/activities are mixed-age, it may help her feel more integrated, even if she does not find actual friends who are "like her". If you want to send her to preschool, I'd look for mixed-age classes where she can be the youngest at 2.5 or so, as Olly recommended.

 

Most importantly, be ready to wait it out a bit, and try to relax in the meantime.


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#9 of 12 Old 07-29-2013, 06:06 PM
 
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My DD didn't gravitate towards other verbally advanced children around 2. She preferred those who had advanced social skills. Her BFF wasn't exactly verbal but he would take turns, share, come up with pretty interesting creative play, and collaborate (nonverbally, which was pretty amazing). He also showed a lot of empathy towards DD.

 

She also had a slightly older "boyfriend." They met at a children's museum and she was quietly watching him across the room because he was playing with something she wanted. He noticed this and walked over to her, handed her the toy, and said "Here, did you want to play with this? You can have a turn. I'm done with it" with a smile. It was love at first sight for her, and I think for him too.  

 

When she met other verbally precocious children who were not as kind and thoughtful as her BFF or BF, she used to be rather apathetic if not down right cold towards them which was rather embarrassing for us. It looked like DD was being very judgmental and I'm sure other parents thought her attitude reflected ours which was NOT the case at all.

 

Now that she is almost 3, she can socialize and connect with a variety of ages and abilities. She is currently learning to be helpful rathe than bossy. It hasn't been always easy and it's tempting to pick and choose playmates who are compatible with DD but we wanted to encourage her to expand her comfort zone.

 

Her favorite "friend" is still a teenage girl who takes DD's interests in science seriously and we're lucky that she actually seems to like spending time with DD.

 
The key for us was to diversity and to not expect a soulmate who'd be a perfect match in every way. :)

 

ETA: OP, what I am trying to also say is that there may be other advanced children out there and they may be hiding their skills in an unfamiliar environment as DD used to do. She has always been very cautious in public with children and adults and she needed to see a definitive proof or two that other children were civil and capable of social reciprocation before she opened up to them. 

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#10 of 12 Old 07-30-2013, 08:42 PM
 
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Neighbor kids? My DD played with the neighbors who were 4 years older than she was. She was a little older, maybe starting at 3, but it was kind of amazing that they would play games or make things with her. They would come to our house, and I would keep them within earshot. One boy, one girl.
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#11 of 12 Old 08-06-2013, 08:32 PM
 
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I have never had a problem with my oldest son, who is the clearly gifted one out of my three kids (but I'm starting to suspect the others as well). He is six and has always loved conversations with adults OR kids. The older kids would play with him because of his mental development. No issues yet. He is homeschooled so these encounters were neighborhood kids, at the library, playdates, or chess clubs.


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#12 of 12 Old 08-13-2013, 12:06 PM
 
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I understand that feeling, and well remember looking on these boards for similar advice - when your kid is trying so hard to have full conversations with peers, in complete sentences, and they just look at your kid funny (not judgmental, just confused) - or at worst, growl at your kid, or throw toys at them. redface.gif

 

But that's just the perils of lil kid socialization, gifted or not!  I found most of my worries about this were just that...mine.  Instead, I watched how DS responded.  Often, he'd just shrug it off and walk away.  Other times, he'd decide to carry on both sides of the conversation for the non-verbal child, and they'd communicate in other ways (gestures, etc.).

 

Now that he's 2, he does tend to seek out the company of older children (and can hold conversations, direct play, etc. with them well when they'll let him join) but also takes great care to look out for the younger kids, or his same-age peers who aren't so verbal.  You never know who he's going to have the best time with!

 

Honestly, he is his own lil person with his own opinions and criteria for who he clicks with.  We were at an outdoor concert recently, and he had NO interest in the children playing near us, but spotted a tiny dancing girl a few yards away and they totally hit it off. thumb.gif  It's a mystery to me, but I just try to give him plenty of opportunities to be around other kids, in case he finds a playmate, and really - adults still supply his social needs.  HTH!


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