Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Why your toddler needs friends their own age

Humans are social animals. For many thousands of years, as we lived and worked in tribal societies, every toddler had ample opportunity to be social with the people around him. Learning and playing went hand in hand and all young children participated in tribal events and group socializing. It is only in the modern world, when we have lost the ‘village’ and fractured into single family units that our children do not get adequate socialization. In today’s busy world we use playgroups, playdates and kid’s activities to give our toddlers get a chance to learn interaction and social manners and behaviors.

There are two key reasons for getting your toddler involved in playgroups. The first is to expose them to other young children. When children are playing together in a group, they are automatically and sub-consciously learning from each other. Kid’s activities, special events and playdates are all opportunities for socializing with kids from a variety of backgrounds and cultural situations. Through social interaction your child will learn how to relate and effectively ‘deal’ with children of their own age. Too often our children have social interaction only with adults until they must go to school at which time the culture shock is immense.

The second reason for getting your toddler involved in playgroups is that being around other young children creates confidence and sense of security while in a group. Your child will not only interact personally with the other children, but will have the opportunity to make observations of the activity that surrounds them. Watching other kids playing or learning can give your child ideas – how to solve problems, how to make friends, share etc. This type of socializing is critical for development but, perhaps more importantly, it is fun for your child. Studies have proven that children who are regularly exposed to kid’s activities, events or playdates are better adjusted and better behaved overall.

If you want your toddler to be more social, playgroups, playdates and events where other young children are present are a good way to accomplish it. Learning to play well with others is a critical part of human development and the skills gained while playing and learning will pay great dividends later in life. As adults we sometimes look at socializing as something frivolous – something for our spare time. For toddlers, being involved in kid’s activities and spending regular time with children of a similar age is a critical part of development.  To find or create a group online, visit socialtoddler.com

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