N’s very definitely now at the starting to playing together stage, rather than playing alongside other children. It’s lovely to see the development of this, and how it differs when he’s with different children.
At his day nursery, he’s the oldest in his room by a few months, but does have a friend S, he always talks about. From what the staff say, they’re a bit like partners in crime, although because he’s that much older, N’s quite often used as the example for the others to see what they should be doing when they’re asked to do something.
The other day he had his 5 year old cousin come to play after nursery and school. Until the summer they used to spend 2 days a week with each other, so are used to ‘playing together’. I think in the past it was mostly his cousin telling him what to do, and N idolising and following his cousin around. But now, they’ll decide what to play and play together, making sure their trains don’t crash, and working out who’s going to play with which toy.
Sometimes N would go a bit off piste and go running off with some other toy into the kitchen, but on the whole they played really nicely together the time his cousin was over.
We’ve also caught up with one of my old school friends and her daughter who’s a bit younger than N, and it was interesting to see how they played together. N’s much more into all the toys, discovering what his friend has, while she is happy to look at a few but then sit down and ‘read’ herself a book. Nothing really caught both of their attention and they both wanted to do different things, until a puzzle was suggested. So the four of us sat on the floor in the kitchen and they did a Peppa Pig jigsaw together.
N never really went through the refusing to share/tantrum stage when other people had his toys (we had an occasional ‘mine’ but he was usually quite accepting if toys were given to the original person or he was told to share). But it’s great to watch him interacting with other children, and working out who’s playing with what. I do still need to remind him that he can’t have all the train carriages and that he needs to share them out, but it’s work in progress and he doesn’t moan when he has to hand over items he’s already grabbed first.
Now what we need to work on is games…any tips welcome as games are a bit beyond him at the moment.