Things you can do—if two others are coming over to play
• Decide ahead of time with your child which toys he or she will share, and which ones will be stored out of sight. You can agree with your child that all toys do not need to be shared.
• Have a pow-wow with your kid about sharing with friends. Together you can pick a special word or gesture you will use as a reminder to “share” with others.
• Find an activity that will work well for three playmates to share. For example, a new lump of play dough for each child or the same number of new crayons and paper for everyone are good choices.
• If you a bump during the play date, let the kids work out any discord among the “fearsome threesome” by running off their extra sillies, jumping to music or dunking newspaper balls into a wastebasket. This type of break can defuse difficulties and get everyone back into a positive dynamic.
More tips for building positive peer experiences
- Select play places with toys that pique a child’s interests and needs
- Focus on individuals – encouraging and celebrating each child’s strengths, which can help to promote positive play among the kids in a group
- Encourage talking during meals or snacks with the family or friends to teach kids to express themselves
Learning development specialists say that it takes a dozen positive comments to balance a negative one. Remember to help your child stay positive and keep trying—even when he or she feels awkward or is the odd person out!