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danny541, Parenting Answer Team
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How to get 4 year old boy to play with other children without

Resolved Question:

How to get 4 year old boy to play with other children without making it all "his" way and too rough? (Likes to crash his matchbox cars, ect.)
Submitted: 7 years ago.
Category: Parenting
Expert:  danny541 replied 7 years ago.
Hello and welcome to Just Answer!

You said without making it his way, does that mean he's selfish or that he wants the other kids to play his way or not at all?

And too rough with the toys? Or with everything, physical?
Customer: replied 7 years ago.

Hi Danny,


It's pretty much that he wants to play his way or not at all. We talk about how to play nice and how to make friends and while he's gotten better and is able to play with his younger sister, he still has trouble with kids in his neighborhood. For example, if he's at the pool and there are a couple of kids his age and they all race their cars across the water, he will cut them all off and splash them (not on purpose, but that's what happens as a result) until they leave. He's becoming that "annoying kid" that no one wants to play with. Unfortunately it's hard for him to understand the value of friends and why he should want to be nicer. To him, it's a matter of playing the way HE wants to and he sees nothing wrong with that.


As for playing rough, he saw a bumper cars at a fair and now everything with his matchbox cars and trucks is about smashing them together. This has spilled over into when he rides his big wheel and he'll smash into other kids. Doesn't matter if you warn him, put him in time out, etc. He SAYS the right things -- parrots them, really - about why he shouldn't do that, but it's like he just doesn't really care. He'd rather play with his sister or Mom or any of the adults around.


His parents go between intervening when his play with other kids goes downhill to letting the kids handle it. When the kids leave him to play elsewhere, he's heart-broken and sobbing. They talk about how to change that behavior, but it's like the lesson doesn't carry over to the next time.


Any suggestions on how to teach him to be a friend to other kids? Or is there a discipline more than "time out" that will help?





Expert:  danny541 replied 7 years ago.
A lot of these problems will disappear the older he gets and begins to understand what you are all teaching him.

But until then, try to have play dates, it would be preferable to try one on one with the kids if possible, that way you can monitor what is being done, you can also try taking the hot wheel cars away when ever he has inappropriate behavior with the other kids, just tell him no one likes to be knock around by the cars, so until he can play nice,put them away, start with at least two days, and increase to see if he will remember the lesson!

The same with his big wheel, put it away, until he learns that he can't hurt others at play!

I would also remind him before he goes to play with the other kids that if he hits them, or "smashes " into them, then he will have to stop and sit it out for a little while, usually 5 minutes for each year of age,I would do 15 minutes, where he must just sit and watch the others instead of joining in, then let him play,if he does it again more time out,he should after a short time start to get it and will stop the behavior!

Remember it will take patience on the parents part and yours if you watch him much!

Be consistent and he should start to understand and behave appropriately as time goes by!

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