Being part of a sporting activity requires that your little one learns to collaborate and play ‘with’ his friends. Jade Shield, OT and Franchise owner of Clamber Club Sports says that until around two years old, toddlers tend to play alongside their friends, rather than collaboratively ‘with’ their friends – we call this parallel play. After two years old, your toddler will start to engage in cooperative play with a friend.

Here are some ideas to help you be prepared-ish to develop the social skills that your little one needs to engage in sports:

  1. Socialise your little one – From three months old your baby can be regularly exposed to other people and children. Let your baby sit and watch what others are doing around him. By 7 months your baby will start to react positively to his little friends and have fun being around other children.
  2. Encourage interaction while playing – At 11 months your baby will start to play “give and take” games with an adult or older sibling. You can encourage this by playing with your little one and giving and taking toys so he learns to play ‘with’ someone.
  3. Play Dates – Arrange little play dates so that your 2 year old has the opportunity to play with friends. At this age, your little one will play the same game as their friend, but has not yet learned how to cooperate or share. You need to be present and facilitate happy play times.
  4. Taking turns – From 3 years of age your child will start to take turns and share for a short period of time.
  5. Complex collaborative play – Only from 4 years of age will your child be eager to play collaboratively with a friend in ball type games.

Be Prepared-ish with Babies R Us and their toy range: