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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My DD is close to 2.5 years old and I'm a bit worried that she's lonely. The situation is that I've been at home (and her father works from home) since she was born. We were living abroad for her first year and now in her second year we have moved to a new town in a new part of the country where we don't know anyone, except my SIL.

I take my DD to baby play groups about 4 times a week, more depending on the weather ect. So she's getting about 7 hours of contact a week with groups of children, but as we don't know anyone closely yet in the area we rarely go to one-on-one play dates. I've noticed that at the playgroups she rarely 'connects' with the other kids but on the rare times when she does, she is very engaged and excited about the prospect.

This might sounds like an odd concern, it's not that I want her to have a social calendar and a phonebook of little toddler friends, I just feel that other little children I see at these playgroups seem to sort of be 'friends' whereas I get the distinct impression that my DD is an outsider and she is eager to have that sort of connection with children her age.

Oh and the last two times I've seen my parents (who live abroad) they've asked me if my DD was lonely - they got the impression that she was very solitary, even though she is a very happy child.

Also before we moved here she had made definitely made 'friends' with a little girl of the same age whom she saw about 3 times a week for playdates. Even though she hasn't seen her in about 5 months, she still will mention her ect.

I guess my questions are do other people's children's of this age (2-3 years old) have friends? Do they get lonely ect? Do I sound like I'm way too concerened about something that's completely normal?

Thanks!
 

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My dd just turned two. We have a group of four moms who I see regularly (about once a week), and their kids are 2.5, 2, and 22 months. Dd talks about these friends several times a week. However, when we all get together, I wouldn't say that they actually play "together" all that much. They interact, yes, but they are still in the parallel stage rather than any kind of cooperative play. I think they are all friends b/c the mom's are friends. We also do storytime and a swim class once a week, but neither I nor dd are friends with any of those moms/kids. (we chat, but don't hang out with them, I mean). I think dd has her mommy for her best friend (
and that is fine by her for now! I think in the next couple of years, we can expect them to develop more of a friendship, but if your dd is happy, I wouldn't worry about it. Also, it could just be her personality-I am a total loner and find it really hard to make deep connections with people-always have, especially as a kid. This is the first time in my life that I feel like I have a "real" friends.
 

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At that age kids play near each other more than they play with each other. I think the fact that she is out interacting with other kids several times a week is great.

My daughter does have a group of friends, but we are in a different situation than you. We are fortunate to live in a community with a close group of like-minded friends with toddlers and preschoolers. Our core group of friends includes 2 other kids her age, and there are lots of little kids in our extended group of friends. She also goes to preschool 2 days a week and has friends there.

Just like you will gradually make closer friends in a new place, so will she. It sounds like her social activity is fine right now.
 

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I agree with greenemami, my DS is 25 mo. We do a parent & child class, library storytime, he has a weekly playdate with his cousins, and we frequently see friends and neighbors around town. He talks about his "friends" and cousins all the time. I don't think he's lacking for interaction with other kids, but he's definitely still more in the "parallel play" stage rather than cooperative play.
DH & I are definitely his best friends right now!
 

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IMO, it depends a lot on the personality of the child. My DS has a girlfriend at 2.5 whom he really enjoyed, but he could easily play with other kids and not miss her. Now at 4.5, the relationships are much more rich and stable. He has a good friend, and 3-4 other boys he also enjoys playing with more than others. He will miss them, and says so, if he has not seen them in a while. He wants to invite specific people over to play on the weekends....

I did find something unusual - you said 4 times a week, but only a total of 7 hours. That's less than 2 hours each time. IMO, just enough time to warm up to who is there, who is playing with whom, get comfortable with the other kids and all the unwritten non-verbal rules they have (that sometimes parents don't notice), and then have to leave again. Have you considered maybe having 1 or 2 days where your DC is with some specific children for a 4-5 hour chunk of time, so they can really get into doing things together?
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by AllisonR View Post
I did find something unusual - you said 4 times a week, but only a total of 7 hours. That's less than 2 hours each time. IMO, just enough time to warm up to who is there, who is playing with whom, get comfortable with the other kids and all the unwritten non-verbal rules they have (that sometimes parents don't notice), and then have to leave again. Have you considered maybe having 1 or 2 days where your DC is with some specific children for a 4-5 hour chunk of time, so they can really get into doing things together?
Isn't 2 1/2 a bit young for this. I know my 24 month old is DONE after about 1 1/2 hours of intense play. What you are referring to seems more like preschool to me. Talking of which, I am sure the OP's dd will make friends if she starts some kind of 'school' at age 3 or 4 or whatever.

My boy does have friends but I think it is unusual. They are more like family really because the parents are so close. I don't think it is necessary at this age.
 

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My daughters are very sociable, in their own very different styles, whenever they're around other children. I wouldn't call any of the kids they know 'friends' and I don't think it's necessary at their age. Maybe by the time they're 5 or 6 or 7, they'll have that need, but now, I just don't think it's a need they have. Also, they do have each other (they're only 13.75 months apart in age).
 

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My dd is almost 3. She still doesn't have friends, but she will call someone her friend after they play together for 5 minutes. Sometimes she immediately connects with someone and other times it is parrellel play only no matter how long she is with the kids. I'm not worried, I just keep providing her with opportunity.
 

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Mine is 2.5 and although she is VERY social and begs to go out to play with "the other children", when we are there, it's parallel play the whole time. She talks about her friends and often says, "I'm your friend, mommy," or "So-and-so is my friend!" but she does not appear to really have close connections with other children. We were also living overseas for the first part of her life, but that does not seem to have made her more solitary. We get out less than you and I'd like her to do more.

I personally think she'd love pre-school but I'm expecting a new baby and didn't get her enrolled in time to make a proper pre-baby transition. However, your daughter is probably fine and normal.
 

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Nah, at that age DS1 might have associated more with some kids than others but I don't think he really thought of them as anything like friends until at least after 3. And it wasn't until after 4 or so that he started expressing a desire to play with individual kids beyond the standard daycare hours. At 2 DS2 still pretty much plays with whoever is doing the sorts of things he wants to do.

Some people are just more social than others (and some parents, the attitude of the parents plays a big role as well). At that age DS1 was perfectly social when he was out but honestly was just as happy home with me for the day and never seemed to crave being with other kids. I wouldn't worry about it, and don't rush into the social calendar thing, it's a rat-race full of balancing who was where last.
:
 

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ds is 20 months and has "friends" Whenever the doorbell rings he signs "friend friend" hoping its another baby to play with. Mostly he's friends with kids who I am friends with their parents. One kid who I would say is his "best friend" I watch 3 or so times a week, so they are together A LOT. But if we go to another place he is always looking for this kid and that kid is always saying my ds' name and looking for him.

however, they mostly just like to be near each other and copy each other "oh you are going down the slide, I'm going to do that too" or "oh you're eating crackers, I would love a cracker!" kinda things
 

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Totally depends on the child. My dd (3.5 now) has had what I would call real friends for at least a year or so, and does engage in play WITH them (rather than just parallel play). She has maybe 2 or 3 close friends, and then several more casual type playmates. But she definitely has a connection with them, a very nice bond. And they reciprocate. So for her, developing friendships is important. She gets VERY lonely if she doesn't see her friends for a long time. She misses them terribly. I'm already worried about this summer when one of her close friends is going abroad for almost three months. Poor dd


But this is cerainly not true for all kids her age. Like anything else, it is all very individual and has a lot to do with personality. And like anything else, I would follow your child's cues. Present opportunities (which is sounds like you're doing) without pushing anything.

Quote:
but as we don't know anyone closely yet in the area we rarely go to one-on-one play dates.
I would try to do something about this. You might even make a new friend yourself, which is always a nice bonus
Invite someone over to your place for a playdate and see where it goes. If it doesn't work out, fine. If it does, even better. It's a nice way to get to know new people in your area, and if your child really seeks friendships, this will provide the opportunity.
 

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Maybe DS is the only one, but he doesn't spend much time with other kids yet. He just plays with me and DH and Grandma, and then he loves to go see friends that DH and I have, other adults (and their dogs...he loves their dogs
). He's not lonely, and when he does play with other kids he plays well, but he gets tired quickly and is always happy and willing to go home. Not so much with the adults, he doesn't want to leave them! Once he gets older and it seems like he needs the interaction, then I'll be happy to provide it, but for now while he's happy, I'm happy.
 

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my DD loves our close friend's DD, who is 9 months younger... she asks to go see her, where is she? etc but doesn't really want to *play* with her so much as talk to her, then take her toys and snacks
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
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Originally Posted by jjawm View Post
My dd likes other kids around, but not too close. I wouldn't worry about her having friends yet. What about you, though? I think it would be so had to move!
It's a bit hard but it's too be expected. The hardest thing I'm finding is meeting parents that are of a similar philosophy towards childrearing.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Quote:

Originally Posted by AllisonR View Post
I did find something unusual - you said 4 times a week, but only a total of 7 hours. That's less than 2 hours each time. IMO, just enough time to warm up to who is there, who is playing with whom, get comfortable with the other kids and all the unwritten non-verbal rules they have (that sometimes parents don't notice), and then have to leave again. Have you considered maybe having 1 or 2 days where your DC is with some specific children for a 4-5 hour chunk of time, so they can really get into doing things together?
I agree. That's the set-up we had previously. She would be spending about three hours sessions a few times a week with another little girl and she seemed to really enjoy it. That is my ultimate goal.

Thanks for all the responses. From everyone's different experiences, I should trust my gut and respond to her behaviour. She seems to be striving for friends her age but I need to calm down a bit about it. I suppose alot of it comes from the fact that I'm finding it frustrating and difficult to fit us both into a parenting circle in our community.

To end on a high note, I just discovered a Waldorf playgroup in the town and although I lean towards Montessori more, I'm hoping this will be a new outlet to find some like-minded parents.
 

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Personally, I think you are doing a wonderful job of giving her a fun life. No, I don't think she's lonely at all, and it's great that you give her playgroups to go to. I believe that eventually (my daughter did it closer to the age of 3), she will make a connection with one of the children she is in regular contact with and then you will know, she has found a really good friend. It might not be until she is 4, but I think that as long as you are giving her a chance to play alongside and with other children regularly, there is nothing more you need to do.

I think that for myself, I would probably make the effort a bit more to occasionally invite someone that I know just a little, to come over for a playdate, but what I did around that age, is that I started a weekly playgroup by inviting 3 other moms with children of similar ages every Friday. After a few weeks, the other moms started hosting at their houses and inviting me and the other moms. It became a regular occurrence and I got over my shyness and initiated it. The children really benefited from seeing each other regularly and getting a chance to feel really comfortable playing together.
 
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