This sets the stage for working and playing well with classmates at school and on into adulthood.
As with everything else, children will vary on how quickly they learn to play with others, and on how much help they need to learn. But nearly every child can use some guidance at one time or another.
To help your child play well:
• Talk about the behaviors that make a good friend. For example, good friends share. They take turns. They don’t scream at each other.
• Encourage your child to invite a friend over. Think about your child’s personality. Some children do better with unstructured play. Others do better when the time is more organized. If your child is one of the latter, help him think up a list of activities in advance. For example, the two friends could play with trucks, then play outside for awhile. After that, you could serve a snack and read a story to them.
• Praise your child and his friend when they are playing nicely. “It makes me happy to see you guys having so much fun.”
• Step in if you see the children aren’t playing well together. “It looks like you guys need a change. Let’s all play hide and seek. I’ll count first.”
Later, talk to your child about what happened. “Tommy sure did get upset when you wouldn’t share your stuffed tiger with him. What can we do to make everyone happier next time?”
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