Parallel Play: Using Playtime to Encourage Social Development

When it comes to social development, infants have a lot to learn. If you're a mom with a baby, you know that playtime is an integral part of your little one's development. But what you may not know is that playtime can also help promote social development. In this blog post, we'll discuss some fun ways to encourage social development through playtime. Keep reading to learn more!

What is Parallel Play?

Parents of infants are often concerned about their child's social development. Will they make friends? How can they encourage their baby to interact with other children? One way to promote social development is through parallel play. During parallel play, infants will often engage in the same activity as another infant or group of infants without really interacting with them. For example, two babies might both be playing with blocks but not building anything together. While it may seem like they're just playing side by side, this type of play is an essential step in their social development. Parallel play allows infants to observe and learn from other babies while still feeling comfortable and safe. As they watch and learn, they start to figure out how to interact with others and eventually move on to more cooperative play.  

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Parallel Play Vs. Solitary Play

As described above, parallel play is when infants or toddlers play side-by-side with each other, but not necessarily together. They might be engaged in the same activity, such as stacking blocks, but they're not interacting with each other. This type of play starts around 6 to 8 months old and is a way for babies to start exploring social interactions. Solitary play, on the other hand, is when a child plays alone. This can happen at any age, but it's most common in babies under six months old. By playing alone, infants can explore their own abilities and interests without having to worry about another person's needs or reactions. Both types of play are essential for infant development, so don't worry if you see your baby engaging in either one.


two babies sitting together



The Importance of Parallel Play

Parallel play is such an essential stage in infant development because it is often the first time that babies start to interact with other children. During parallel play, infants learn how to take turns, share toys, and follow rules. They also learn how to communicate non-verbally with other children. Parallel play is a critical step in social development, and it helps infants learn to interact with others positively, paving the way for cooperative play.

Additionally, parallel play helps babies develop motor skills and learn about cause and effect. For example, they may learn that pushing a block down a ramp makes it go faster. Parallel play is a fun and important part of infant development, and it helps babies learn essential social and cognitive skills.

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Language Development

It's adorable to watch infants play together. Even though they don't realize it, they're actually doing a lot of learning. One of the things they're learning is how to communicate with others. When they babble or make sounds, they're trying out different ways of getting their message across. They're also learning how to take turns and share space with others. They'll also begin to understand each other's communication styles. 


Toddlers playing



Encouraging Parallel Play

If you have a toddler who's engaging in parallel play, there are a few things you can do to encourage social interaction. First, try sitting down next to your toddler and playing with the same toys. This will help him or her understand that sharing toys and space with others is okay. You can also try modeling social interaction by talking to other adults in front of your toddler. Finally, make sure to praise your toddler when he or she does interact with other kids. By encouraging social interaction, you'll help your toddler develop the skills necessary for a healthy and well-rounded life. This will also let them know that you're happy with their progress and encourage them to continue playing alongside others.

Parallel play is a great way for infants to learn and explore. It allows them to interact with other children while still maintaining their independence. Parallel play also gives infants a chance to practice their skills, such as fine motor or social skills. Overall, parallel play is a beautiful way for infants to learn and grow.

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What Differentiates Parallel Play From Associative Play?

Parallel play is distinct from associative play in one significant aspect– How kids engage with one another.

During parallel play, children will not interact with one another but will be content to coexist with them while doing their own thing. On the other hand, children begin to remark, ask questions, and participate minimally during associative play. Your toddler may begin to share his or her toys during associative play

Toys for Parallel Play

Simple things like balls, blocks, and toy cars are some of the best toys for parallel play. These toys can be used in various ways, so infants can always find new ways to play with them. Plus, they're small and lightweight, so they're easy to take on the go. Parents can easily provide their infants with hours of fun and learning with a few basic toys.

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The Importance of Playtime

Parallel play is a great way to encourage social development in infants. If you want to help your infant grow up happy and well-adjusted, make sure they get plenty of time for play every day. By providing your child with plenty of opportunities for parallel play, you can help them learn how to interact with others and develop their social skills.  

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