Parallel play in toddlers is an essential stage in a child’s development. It teaches him many things such as social interaction, confidence, and how to build social relationships. Learn what it means and how it’s the stepping stone for future interactive play
We’re used to seeing children play and communicate with one another. But before this, they go through a stage where they don’t interact yet play next to each other. They don’t influence each other’s behavior. This phase starts from the age of 12 or 18 months and continues till at least the age of 3 years. Known as parallel play, it helps them gradually move from being solitary players to social players.
Understanding What Is Parallel Play in Child Development
- Parallel play is the first form of social interaction for a toddler. Children play next to each other and they occasionally see what the other is doing and will modify their play accordingly.
- It helps children begin language development, and can also help in the development of gross and fine motor skills.
- It helps build confidence because children are learning to come out of their shells and play alongside others in the same environment.
- Toddler parallel play eventually leads to the building of relationships with other children and, thus, helps in social development.
- This type of play teaches kids to learn how to share and play with other children.
- Parallel play activities can assist neglected children or children with behavioral disorders, who aren’t comfortable with social interaction, to transition smoothly to social play with their peers.
- Parallel play is a means of coping for smaller children. Kids who want to play with an unfamiliar peer will generally resort to this style. It helps them engage in the same activities as their friend, but from a distance, until they’re comfortable enough to socialize with them.
toys and Activities that Aid Parallel Play
If you think play dates for your little one are a waste of time, think again. They’re a great learning experience for him and make up his first social interactions apart from his immediate family. You can aid him further during this important stage by providing him with building blocks, floor puzzles, and kiddie dough that he can use to create shapes.
At what age will your toddler start playing with friends?
Transitioning to interaction and more active play with peers, also known as cooperative play, starts around the age of 3 to 4 years. Parallel play is one of the many stages of play a child goes through and is a step to full-fledged interactive play. Do remember that all children are different. They all go through different stages of play but at different times. It’s best not to rush them into anything and to let them develop at their own pace.
Parallel play is essential for a child’s development because it’s an important step in learning how to interact with others. During parallel play in 18-month-old toddlers, you can see them shyly and slyly observe their companions and gradually start to imitate their peers.
Has your child reached this stage or is he moving toward cooperative play? What help did he need to make the transition?