Your 2-year-old now
You set up the playdate, set the kids loose – and they head off for different toys, completely ignoring one another. Is the playdate a bust? Not at all. Kids this age typically engage in what's called parallel play. It might look strange, but it's completely normal and developmentally useful.
Your preschooler is making important social progress. He's moved up from always playing alone, as he did when he was a baby. Now he's interested in other children. Even when the kids don't interact during their play, they're aware of one another. And it's as different from solo play as sitting in a crowded theater is from sitting home alone watching TV.
Playing with other children, even if it's parallel play, will become increasingly important this year. Kids often use this kind of play to join an activity already under way. Reserved kids may stay longer at this stage, and that's fine. You can boost your child's confidence by keeping playgroups small and familiar. Make a habit of inviting over just one or two children your child already knows. When your child is ready, you'll begin to notice more shared activity, fueled by improving language skills and a growing imagination.
Your life now
If it hasn't happened already, you might soon discover your preschooler catapulting out of her crib. That's your cue to transition to a new, safer sleep arrangement. Some parents put the crib mattress on the floor and disassemble the crib. Others take advantage of the opportunity to move to a big-kid bed. You can make the switch easier by putting your preschooler down for naps on the big bed for a few days before moving her there at night. A guardrail can ease worries about her falling out of bed.
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