Playing with others is a crucial part of developing your children’s social skills. But children can face some difficulties when they start playing with others. So, it makes sense that they would not want to play with other kids. As a parent, what should you do if your children don’t want to play with other kids?
Don’t worry; I will explain everything to you here. As a parent, you can follow these tips-
- Parents should identify the exact reason first.
- Then, talk to your children and observe their activities.
- Help them learn social skills.
- Support them to overcome social anxiety.
- Encourage them to make new friends.
In this guideline, I have listed the possible reasons why your children don’t want to play with others. Plus, there’s a pediatrician’s advice for parents to overcome this problem in this entire article.
Why don’t Children want to Play with Other Kids?
Before jumping into the solution, you must know why your children face difficulties playing with others. That’s why I have discussed some of the related valid reasons below.
1. Maybe Your Child is Introverted
In general, introverted children seem not to play with other kids. They just like to play with themselves. Actually, they need help interacting with new people or making friends. This can also be described as “childhood shyness.”
According to research, childhood shyness is a barrier to social play behaviors and learning skills. ~Source
2. Social Anxiety
Social anxiety is another possible reason children don’t play with others.
Children with social anxiety have a fear of making mistakes or looking foolish in front of others. As a result, they avoid being around other people. This thing influences a child to make friends and play with them.
3. Lack of Social Skills
Most children want to play but have difficulty starting conversations with other children. They also fear how other children will react when they approach them to join play.
These things happen when the child doesn’t have social skills. That’s why building social skills can help them out.
4. Maybe Your Child can’t Cooperate with a Large Group of Children
Some children just want to play in pairs or small groups. They need to show interest in joining a large group of kids.
This is also the exact reason for shyness or nervousness in a large group. They need more confidence to express their thoughts and activities within a large group.
5. Addiction to Screen Viewing
Today, the rate of spending more time on-screen (i.e., watching television, using smartphones, tablets, or playing videos online) is increasing.
The kids prefer playing video games with technology to playing with friends outside. As a result, today’s kids want to avoid playing with their neighbors or school friends. ~Source
Advice for Parents on How to Encourage Children to Play with Other Children – [5 Powerful Tips From Experts]
In this section, you’ll find pediatricians’ more powerful tips and guidelines to encourage children to play with other children.
1. First, talk to your child
Every child has different social needs. Some kids enjoy playing with one special friend, whereas others may be more interested in playing with a large group.
Dr. Monique Jericho, a pediatric psychiatrist suggests talking with your child about what they actually like. Who do they want to play with?
This will help you know your little one’s point of view and their valid reasons for not wanting to play with others.
2. Volunteer for their activities
The second basic thing that Dr. Monique Jericho suggests is observing your child’s activities and their surroundings with other friends. ~Source
In this case, your child’s school teacher can be a great source of help. Talk to his teacher and find out whether their developmental skills are as normal as those of other kids at school.
In this way, you can find out if your child is really facing any difficulties or not.
3. Help them learn social skills.
According to Dr. Monique Jericho, your child may have different reasons for not making friends and playing with others.
She says your child may have social difficulties and can’t connect with other kids. That’s why it’s better to help him develop social skills.
Try to connect your shy child with one outgoing kid. Learn them to show empathy, share toys, and help one another. You can also try role-playing, modeling playful activities, and providing descriptive activities. ~Source
4. Support your child if it’s social anxiety
Dr. Monique Jericho also says,” If your child is absolutely fine at home but has difficulties outside of home, then the problem is social anxiety.”
In that case, Monique Jericho suggests parents support their children to overcome their social anxiety.
You can teach your child problem-solving skills that work to improve their fear of doing things.
You can also help them work on friendship skills. Teach them how to greet first. Then, teach them how to start conversing with others and effective listening and speaking skills as well.
5. Encourage them to keep their confidence
If your child is socially doing well but, all of a sudden, he is withdrawn or isolated. Then, it may be the reason for bullying or social rejection. Dr. Monique says so, and that social rejection can make your child stay away from playing with others.
First, listen to their social rejection story and see their perspective. Don’t question them or jump to solve them. Stay quiet and keep listening.
Then, keep encouraging them to make true friends and make them confident about their personalities. Help them find peers with the same personality.
1. Should I force My Child to Play with Other Kids?
No, you shouldn’t force your child to play with other kids. It’ll not be beneficial at all. Instead of forcing them, you can help them develop skills and encourage them to play.
2. How do I Encourage My Child to Interact with Others?
You need to encourage them to learn and develop social skills for better interaction with others. For example, teach them how to greet people, start conversations, and show empathy.
Is it OK to let my child play alone?
It is okay to let your child play alone. Some kids prefer playing alone to playing with other kids and find it more enjoyable. It’s very normal.
Always try to have open communication between you and your child. Keep listening to their daily stories; what makes them happy or sad? What friends do they really find interesting to play with?
If they want to play only with their siblings at home, that’s also fine! Don’t force them to play with another one outside. Sometimes, it takes time to find your comfort zone with others. Well, you can empower them with a positive environment and help them find new friends!