Bad Behavior: Rejecting Playmates
Why It’s Actually Not So Bad:
Young kids (ages 2-3) often can’t cope with more than one playmate at a time. They just aren’t developmentally ready. Older kids may worry a new kid will hurt them, change the game or wreck their toys. Instead of forcing playmates together (“You can’t say you can’t play”), take the time to find out what the fear is. Kids are much more willing to accept newcomers when they set limits and feel safe. Ex: “You can play with us if you don’t knock down the castle.” It’s fine for a child to choose to play alone or with one or two chosen playmates. That’s part of free play.
Keep it Appropriate: Kind rejections are possible: “I don’t want to play now. Maybe later.” or “No, thank you.” Kids don’t have to like everyone. They don’t have to play with everyone. They do have to be decent to everyone.