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Initiating and Maintaining Parallel and Interactive Play with Peers

  • “You gotta be in it to win it”. Repeated exposure to social interactions should allow your child’s comfort level to increase with time.
  • Prompt socially interactive games (e.g., peek-a-boo, hide and seek, ring around the rosy, chasing and being chased).
  • Match your child’s preferences to the social situations you choose (e.g., Does your child prefer one, two, three, or thirty children? Does your child prefer new or familiar children? Does your child do better in homes or public facilities? …the library? …the park? Does your child prefer older or younger children?)
  • Provide toys that encourage interactions (e.g., balls, blocks, puppets, doll houses, cars, tea sets, farm house).
  • Encourage sharing through trading, use of words and gestures, demonstrations of turn-taking, and through “triangles” of sharing (three people exchanging turns or objects).
  • Encourage your child to hand out things to other children (e.g., crackers, stickers, cups).
  • Encourage observation of others from various distances (perhaps from the safety and security of your arms). Use a pleasant and assured tone of voice as you describe the actions of others (avoid pleading or physically rushing your child into interaction).