As a parent you can be concerned and disturbed if your child appears to be unfriendly or antisocial; wonder what long term impact it may have on his or her development. However what is an antisocial toddler and what can a parent do about it?
Is your toddler antisocial?
It could be that your toddler isn’t antisocial at all. Just because he won’t actively interact doesn’t make him antisocial. Toddlers will often play alongside each other rather than with each other. They are constantly learning how to behave and react and each child has their own speed and pattern of development.
However if you still think that your child appears socially isolated or inept, you can do the following to help him become more sociable and better able to make and enjoy friendships.
Helping the antisocial toddler to become more sociable
1. Give plenty of opportunity for interaction: If the child becomes used to meeting other kids at the park or at play dates organized at home or a friend’s home, she will get used to social situations and being with others.
This will help her hone her social skills. Consider day care or a play group if your child isn’t getting the opportunity for unstructured play.
2. Make time for unstructured play: While toys can be very useful for toddler’s play, they can cause conflict; particularly if more than one child wants the same toy. So either you have two of everything to prevent conflict (though this is no guarantee against conflict because toddlers can get bloody minded) or you do away with toys altogether. Put on the music for some dancing, or let them sing along with some nursery rhymes.
Also make for unstructured play without props or programs and let the kids set their own pace. The park, yard play or setting up a pool can be great fun and will help the most reticent toddler break the ice and enjoy herself.
3. Be realistic: If you have a naturally shy child, don’t push him into uncomfortable or stressful situations because this will only be counterproductive. Also if your child seems to show other symptoms such as developmental delays, or oversensitivity to certain stimuli, or extreme aggression, have him evaluated for any learning abilities or other disorders. Don’t be in denial; remember if your child’s problem is identified and addressed sooner rather than later, this is only in the interest of the child.