Your son is still learning about social interaction and understanding social cues. This is a process that can take a long time. When two children are playing, and another joins them the dynamic changes and the play becomes more difficult to navigate. Similarly when a playmate leaves to play elsewhere, if not socially tuned in it may be thought to be a snub. As with all developmental milestones these social nuances take time to learn and some children take longer than others.

  • As a parent, you can provide good role modeling for him when you and he play together. You can speak about how it would be if another joined the play, or when you want to do something different, he then has a choice about whether he wants to join you or play on his own.
  • Limit his play with other children to short periods of time, gradually increasing it as he can manage.
  • Do not worry about his tears if he becomes upset at the interactions. Hold him close and comfort him without trying to fix the situation for him. Later when he is calm and settled and feeling close to you, speak with him about what was upsetting him about the play and how he might manage another time. If you try to fix things for him in the moment he will not build resilience and learn to manage on his own.
  • Solitary play is a wonderful thing for children. It allows them to explore the world around them and learn about themselves in the process. If he is happy on his own I would not push social play. At six years of age, children get more than enough time with other children at school. Perhaps at the end of the day or on the weekends a break from other children is a better idea for your son than organizing an activity that requires him to be with other children. 

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