Alone or with a friend.
Gosia's mother saw every little child as a source of a dangerous infection. So she preferred, for her only child to be surrounded by adults. She protected her from contact with other children. The hostess was almost two years old, when she met her cousin for the first time, three months younger than her.
The children looked at each other with curiosity and surprise. Then they started examining their clothes carefully, they compared them and, touching each other part of the partner's clothing, exchanged impressions. When they laughed more, the other stroking his lips, on the head, on the hands. it seemed, that just a moment and the undisturbed family idyll will prevail. Until suddenly Grześ reached for Gosia's plush monkey. The girl protested vehemently and tried very energetically to take away her favorite from her little brother. But Grześ held the toy tightly. The hostess did not budge. Each dragged the monkey towards them and screamed, how much strength. Concerned mothers grabbed their screaming children into their arms and soothed them by hugging them. The monkey quickly disappeared from both of their sight. After a while, the children again looked at each other curiously.
It lasted so long, until Greg reached out for a new toy. After second, even louder than the first, After a row, the sisters decided to end this unfortunate meeting. They agreed, that it is not yet time for children to interact with each other. You have to wait, until they grow up to at least preschool age and get wise like that, that they can play together.
Do young children really need contacts with their peers?? Is it enough for them to play alone under the supervision of adults and with their participation?? Is it only at preschool age that the company of other children becomes necessary?
Children in the second, and even at the age of three, they really can't take part in common games. They prefer to play alone. They also want constant contact with an adult, because they still need his help, advice, approval. But it doesn't mean at all, that they do not need to meet other children – peers or slightly older.
Best, if the first partner of joint play is a child at least a year or two older, such, who is used to interacting with others, he knows it well, that the younger one must give way, even if the truth is not on his side. An older child has a much richer repertoire of games, he can organize himself, he has many ideas, which he can interest his friend. The younger always looks at the older with appreciation and respect. She admires his strength, efficiency, increase, ingenuity, messages, experience. Therefore, without protest, he accepts the suggestions put forward, submits to a friend. She is content and proud, that big, smart kid wants to play with toddler. He takes over the ideas of new games and the way they are organized very quickly. The older one is satisfied with it, that someone is listening with attention and interest, he admires, recognizes his advantage. Every child is interested in something new, unfamiliar toys and eagerly reaches for them, but the older ones seeing the child's firm protest, he can give them up, give way to. He often tries too – and with a successful result – explain and convince the toddler that nothing bad will happen to his toy, that he does not take it away from him forever, he just wants to look at her carefully for a moment.
Knowledge, that the younger child acquires from the older one, is generally very valuable. Completely different from this one, that an adult can tell him. Contact with other children is therefore very desirable. The earlier they happen, the better they are for the child. A child who is used to playing with an older friend is able to establish contact with his peers more easily.
Two-year-olds are very happy to play next to each other. The presence of another child nearby increases the attractiveness of the game, diversifies it. Each child plays separately – and it's best, when they both have identical toys – but at the same time, each carefully observes the moves of a colleague. She comes over to him from time to time, watching the game, asks questions about its course, demands an explanation. After that, he modifies his own actions in an appropriate way. He tries to play this way, what mate. Such mutual contacts greatly enrich the child's range of sensations and experiences.
Even seemingly unsuccessful meetings, like Gosia with Grześ, they are also children – especially only children – necessary. Adults in the immediate environment try to satisfy every reasonable request of the child. They watch over it, so that no one would disturb him while he was having fun. So the child grows up in conviction, that almost everything, what he will take, should obey him. Meanwhile, a peer colleague can protest violently, when you reach for his toy, when you pull too hard on his hand, or he turns to him at the wrong time. A small child had never encountered such a spontaneous protest before. He's slowly starting to understand, that you can't be so bold with a second child, like a toy or object, because objections can be raised, resistance. Thus, he learns to anticipate his partner's reactions and adapt his behavior to them. It is a very important and valuable life experience.