Even if your toddler is a sociable little soul, play dates can still be tricky. That’s because two, and even three year olds, are still learning to assert their independence, and how to assert themselves in social situations.

A common problem is that both toddlers will want to play with the same toy, at the same time, resulting in a tug of war. Children at this age don’t understand sharing, or taking turns too well, and you may find yourself refereeing a small battle of wills quite often.

Teach your child to share by example. Offer him some of your sandwich, or play with one of his toys for a while, remembering to thank him afterwards.

You could also try preparing ahead of time. Either pack toys that your child does not want to share away, or make sure that there are two of everything – two tables, two colouring books, two sets of crayons and so on.

Don’t let toddler play dates drag on too long – an hour or two is enough. When your toddler gets tired, hungry or frustrated, he’s less likely to feel sociable!

Lastly, as much as you’re tempted to, don’t jump in immediately when your child and his friend get into an argument. Learning to resolve conflicts is an important skill, and unless there’s hitting or biting, your input might not be needed right away.

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