When Amber was a youngster she, of course, played alone most of the time. When I took her to outdoor playgrounds or indoor play yards, she either made new friends or contently played alone. No big deal ‘cause she was used to it.
(This is Amber at about 3 years old.)
Today I noticed how my youngest daughter, who I picked up early for a doctor’s appointment, was a little hesitant to approach other children at the play yard without her siblings in tow. The kids who were already there didn’t take to her – probably ‘cause they thought she was younger than she really is and she didn’t approach or talk. She played a bit by herself and then I finally noticed she’d attached herself to two new friends. A brother and sister who were older than her.
I thought that was funny because she had, in essence, chosen her own brother and sister. In fact, after those children left she didn’t play with anyone else, was a little sad and ready to go. On the way out I asked her, “You like having your siblings around, huh?”
She nodded; head hung low.
“It’s okay,” I told her. “You’re a big girl and it gives you a chance to do things that they’d normally do for you. Like ordering your own food…” Which I tried to get her to do when we arrived at the fast food place. Although that wasn’t too successful, she did swipe her gift card and went back up to the counter alone to ask for barbecue sauce.
It’s good that my younger children have each other, but it’s also good for them – especially the youngest – to learn to do things on her own.
Do you have an only or more than one? How are they alone and together?