Does your child like playing with a younger (2.5 yr) old child? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 10 Old 12-14-2012, 10:18 AM - Thread Starter
I am in the process of searching so I can hire a babysitter who will bring her own kid(s) to my home for a playdate-cum-babysitting. My son 2.5 yr is mature for his age( shares very well, no hitting, screaming, very rare tantrums). I was just wondering if older kids( not old enough to be a babysitter themsleves, more like 4-8 yrs) like playing with kids my age? It will help me find the correct babysitter.

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#2 of 10 Old 12-14-2012, 04:00 PM
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In general, but being completely dependent on the personality of the older child, children 4-6 get frustrated playing with a child that much younger. After about 6-7, the older child would most likely see the younger child as being younger enough that he is not a playmate, but more of someone to take care of and entertain, like a mama does.  Which can work just fine as long as the adult is supervising pretty well.


The difference in skills in playing are so much more profound when they are that young. The 4-6 year olds are moving out of the chaos stage - where blocks were basically great for building towers and knocking down, for example, to now being useful for building roads and structures for cars and dolls, with rules and scripts and all that. Its hard to be at the age where you are just beginning to enjoy that kind of play but your playmate can't grasp those concepts yet.

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#3 of 10 Old 12-14-2012, 04:24 PM
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A child anywhere between 4 and 8 would probably like playing with a 2.5-year-old some of the time, and probably get annoyed by them some of the time. It's doubtful you'll find a regular playmate for a 2.5-year-old this way. It might very well work out for a babysitting situation, but I'd try to make it so the older child can do something by themselves some of the time.
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#4 of 10 Old 12-14-2012, 06:02 PM
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Neither my 5 or 7 yr old would like playing with a kid that young, especially if they got into their stuff a lot.  Every now and again it would be ok but more than 1-2x a month would not work.

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#5 of 10 Old 12-14-2012, 06:13 PM
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I have a 9 and 6 year old. DS1 is actually 3.5 but functions cognitively at around 2.5 years olds. Both girls can only play for a short time with him and then are DONE with him. We have have K aged kids over all the time, none of them are interested in playing with DS1. 

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#6 of 10 Old 12-14-2012, 07:34 PM
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When my younger kid was 2.5 and his sister was 5.5, they did play together quite a bit, but the 5 year old would get frustrated with her brother a lot, too.  I could see a 4 or 5 year old having some fun playing with an easy-going 2.5 year old who could talk well, but I don't think an older kid would enjoy it.  (Except for short periods in an "oh, isn't he cute!" sort of way.)

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#7 of 10 Old 12-14-2012, 08:22 PM - Thread Starter
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#8 of 10 Old 12-15-2012, 07:28 AM
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Well i will counter and say that I think it would be great! Ds goes to a mixed age school of kids 2-6years old. He loved it when he was 2 and still loves it now that he is 5. He plays with all the other kids (especially last year when he was 4 even more than this year when he sticks with his closest buds most of the time although those two kids are 5 and 3.5)

Kids that are used to mixed aged environments would have a lot of practice and scaffolding in negotiating relationships and shared space with kids who are younger. (A kid in a Montessori environment or other mixed age school).

I watch several kids with my 5 year old in tow: an 18 month old, a 3.5 year old and 6.5 year old mostly (and sometimes all of them at once). Ds mostly loves it. Occasionally I take the toddler out of the room to do something with me when all the kids are over because they can get a bit wild, but mostly we all hang together.

If the older kid is the child of the babysitter I would suspect they are used to be being around younger kids and understand that this is their parent's job. They may even feel like it is their own job. I know ds always says "are *we* babysitting today?" He takes a lot of ownership and pride in *our* work.
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#9 of 10 Old 12-15-2012, 08:08 AM
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in a situation like this - i would not write off a mother with a 4 or 5 year old just coz of statistics. 


i would interview all of them with their children and see which one fits your family's needs.


at 5 my dd could play with some younger kids and not with some. depends on their personality. 

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#10 of 10 Old 12-15-2012, 10:57 AM - Thread Starter
I completely agree mixed age environment is very beneficial. I will be putting DS in Montessori next year. However, a group of children is different than just two kids. The dynamics are different.

I am interviewing all the moms because I definitely want to see what works. I specially want to support nannies who become moms and find their job opportunities limited. It's a win win I feel ( with some effort on both sides). I asked on this forum just to get a perspective since I have no clue about older kids.

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