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Toddler won't join other kids
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Toddler won't join other kids

My 21 month old son will walk past the other children at day care and sit in a corner and play by himself with cars or book (often about cars or other vehicles - he's obsessed with cars, buses, etc.). He will sit by himself, far away from the others, and doesn't engage in even parallel play next to them. All the other children are playing together. I have two nephews with developmental disorders. One has sensory integration disorder. The other is very awkward socially (even at age 9), but I'm not sure of the diagnosis. So, I'm not sure it's simply a "phase." Suggestions on what this could mean and what to do are appreciated!
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282524_tn?1348492612
is he around children at home or just adults?
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Avatar_n_tn
Hi - at home he's just around adults. Thanks.
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282524_tn?1348492612
that may be why he is having a hard time playing with children his age. i had the same problem with my oldest son, there was no other kids around for him to play with. have you thought about having playmates at ur home? he may feel more comfortable with that knowing that he has u around.
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Avatar_n_tn
Thanks for this. He is generally ok during play dates. However, the other kids play well together, and some of them are only kids as well. He only plays with vehicles there, doesn't talk much, and doesn't engage with the other kids. Even the day care provider said there's a problem.He's very different at home. So, I'm still perplexed and frustrated. Other thoughts? Thanks for people's time.
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Avatar_f_tn
It's hard to know from your description if it might be shyness or something else. Does he avoid people even in your presence both people he has me t before and people he's meeting for the first time? Does he hold on to you in the presence of others? Does he seem shy? Does he make good eye contact? Does he play in an imaginary way? Does he say hello and goodbye? If you join him in playing with other children will he follow along? Let us know and perhaps we can be more helpful.
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Avatar_n_tn
Thank you for the response and followup questions! He does make eye contact and, when in the mood, says hello/goodbye.. But, he does avoid other children when in my presence, and despite me sitting down with the other child and encouraging him to join us. Instead, he comes towards me as protection. It takes him a few hours to warm up to another child, even when one-on-one in our house. In day care, he mostly keeps to himself, even though he sees them all day, 5days/week. He doesn't talk (or babble) to the other children. He mostly concentrates on his cars/trucks/etc. He will join in the group settings, but not nearly as often as do the other children his age.
I'm not sure what it means to play in an imaginary way.
Thanks for your continued assistance.
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Avatar_f_tn
By playing in an imaginary way, I mean pretend play - pretending he is feeding an animal, taking a trip with a car/truck or attributing meaning to objects other than their intended purpose (e.g., pretending a building block is a car or train). Imaginary play is considered an important developmental milestone. From what you describe, he sounds shy. If that's correct, he's similar to many children. He may eventually outgrow some of his shyness as he matures. Nursery school may help, too. In the meantime, encouraging one-on-one play dates and relationships, pairing him with younger and older kids sometimes, talking to him about feeling shy and encouraging (not pressuring) him to be brave with people to try to be friendly and push through his worried feelings. There are nice books on making friends, written for preschoolers, and there in an excellent book by Zimbardo on shyness in children. Patience, persistence and educating yourselves and him are the most likely keys to success. Good luck.
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Avatar_n_tn
I think you are already suspecting the autism spectrum, if you have other family members with Developmental delays, sensory integration issues, etc, there is a could chance that you have a family history of ASDs, autism spectrum Disorders, My suggestion is take your Child to a developmental pediatritian they will be able to tell you for sure what is going on. If it turns out he is on the spectrum, it is good to know as early as possible so he can get the therapies etc that he needs. But also try to remeber autism is not the end of the world.These kids have as much potential as any other child...... Einstien, henry ford, Bill gates, Jane austen, Charles shultz, Steven speilberg,,,,,,,,,,, What do all of these people have in common??? They are all believed to be on the Autuism spectrum!!
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Avatar_n_tn
Thank you all for these comments and advice. They affirm what we were thinking.
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Avatar_f_tn
I totally identify with you, I am going through a similar situation with my 26 month old son.  His daycare director referred us to a school board program where they evaluate delays, but it is taking forever for an appointment.  He's perfect with us, mom and dad...it's just the three of us.   Play dates are fine for the first hour and if I am with him, he enjoys watching other kids, however not too close, which I think is normal. Right?  I observe and I don't see anything wrong, but at daycare everyday there's some issue.  He won't join the other children, if he can...he hits them! Stays by himself most of the time at a distance, it's heartbreaking... this thread has really helped,  I am going to find out about the developmental pediatrician.  Good luck.
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