Social Skills and Your Toddler: New Developments that You Can Expect

Posted on June 28, 2019 : Posted in Legacy Academy

Your toddler may still cling to you often, but they’re also developing some new social skills. If your child spends a lot of time around other kids, then you’ve probably witnessed a few of those skills in action. Watching your child grow and gain new skills can be fun and exciting, especially with social skills and your toddler. Here are some of the toddler social skills to be on the lookout for.

Parallel Play

Toddlers, especially younger toddlers, won’t engage in much cooperative play. While a three or four-year-old will engage a friend in a game, a toddler is more likely to play next to a companion. This is called parallel play, and it’s important for your toddler’s social development. When toddlers play near other toddlers, they start to gain an interest in one another’s activities. They lay down a foundation for future social skills.

Recognizing Friends

As children move from infancy to toddlerhood, they start to realize that other people exist outside of themselves. Your toddler can recognize you and other family members. Soon, they’ll be able to recognize their friends as well. At this stage, toddlers develop a preference for playmates, even if they haven’t started engaging in cooperative play yet. If you’d like, you can host a playdate for your toddler and their preferred playmates. The interaction will help them build their toddler social skills even further.

Gaining Independence

You’ve seen this one in action. Your child understands the word “no.” They want to do things “all by self.” They insist that they do not need help, and now it takes you twice as long to get from your house to your car. This stage can get frustrating. Believe it or not, though, this stage is also important to your child’s social development. Before your child can understand that other people have thoughts and feelings, they’ll have to explore their own thoughts and feelings. Give this stage time and give yourself some slack. You’re doing a better job than you think you are.

Beginning to Share

Sharing is a skill that will develop slowly. Your child may still demand food or grab a toy from another child’s hands. However, you may also notice your child sharing without any prompting. Granted, you likely won’t see your toddler do this often, but you may occasionally notice your child offer another toddler a cracker or a toy car.

Imitation and Pretend

Your toddler wants to do everything that you do. That’s why virtually any object can become a pretend phone. Adults don’t always realize how observant toddlers can be, but imitation is one of the most important toddler social skills. Your toddler will keep being observant if you put them in a space with other toddlers. They’ll observe and imitate their peers. Likewise, their peers will imitate them. This is a great step toward getting to know one another and forming early friendships.

Develop at Their Own Pace

While you’re looking out for these new social skills, keep in mind that every toddler is different. Toddlers grow and develop at different rates. Your child may face delays in one area while growing leaps and bounds in another. Generally, even if your child lags behind in a few areas, you probably don’t have anything to worry about. Your toddler will catch up when they’re ready.

Toddler Social Skills at Legacy

Looking for a place for your toddler to develop their social skills? Legacy Academy can provide the ideal learning environment. At Legacy, children develop their skills in an encouraging, nurturing environment. If you’d like to see your toddler thrive in a fun and learning-filled preschool, then contact Legacy Academy to schedule your tour of the school.