Social Play: Successful Tips for Parents

social play milestonesParents want their children to be successful and independent in their social interactions, but they also want to protect their child from unwanted confrontations and bullying. It can be challenging.  Let me explain the progression of social play and how a parent can support their child.

Children in the early years are not sure how to regulate themselves and they may need a parent available for emotional support in order for a child to learn empathy, boundaries and proper social interactions. The way you treat your family and friends is what your child will imitate, not what you tell your child to say and do.  Setting a good example is the key.  Here is what to expect at the different ages about your child’s social interactions.  Children vary as to how much play experience, how many siblings and the degree of disability as to their level of play so understand there can be differences.

  • Birth to 24 months:  Self play (solitary or onlooker play) is the general rule for children in this age range (Encyclopedia of Children’s Health).  They like to play near other children but not always with them (parallel play) (Wikipedia).  Baby will make sounds or talk to himself/herself or to his/her toys as he/she plays.  There is very little give and take in the social interaction with his/her peers.  In the beginning he/she may not even pay attention to other children playing in the same room.  Watching, studying and imitating the play of others will be the norm for this age group. Read on…
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Kathryn Thorson Gruhn, MA, CCC-SLP About Kathryn Thorson Gruhn, MA, CCC-SLP

Kathryn Gruhn, SLP, is the Positive Parenting Expert and the author of the My Baby Compass series. Appearing on TV and radio, parents get what they want and need. Go to My Baby Compass.