Why Won’t He Play With Me?

One of my favorite TV shows that The Don watches is Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood.  I love that it teaches children life lessons such as sharing, caring for others, and playing.  One of the episodes was about how if a friend doesn’t want to play with you, to find something else to do.  This lesson has been pretty hard for The Don to understand.  When The Don plays with other kids and they decide to go away and do something else, The Don seems disappointed or even hurt when a kid decides to do something other than what he wants them to do.  I remember when he wanted another boy to play chase with him on their tricycle and when the boy got up from his tricycle and went off and played something else, The Don shouted at the boy, “Hey, come back here”, as he pointed to the tricycle he was sitting on.  I told him that it’s ok; the boy doesn’t feel like playing anymore and to continue to play on his own.  It was hard to see the rejection that The Don felt when someone doesn’t want to play with him.



It’s even more hurtful when Bam Bam doesn’t want to play with  him all the time.  I love that The Don and Bam Bam play together.  I can see the brotherly bond that seems so perfect until they fight over toys but that’s expected in sibling relationships.  The thing is The Don doesn’t understand that Bam Bam is developing at a different stage and his interested isn’t the same as The Don’s.  I think although Bam Bam is smaller, The Don thinks their about the same developmentally. Bam Bam is only fifteen months old and he doesn’t have the energy to keep up with The Don. 

When the boys play chase or play with cars or play with a ball together, it’s fun as long as Bam Bam continues to play what The Don wants him to play.  As soon as Bam Bam gets tired or goes off and plays with something else, The Don gets frustrated and pulls Bam Bam to do what he wants him to do even if Bam Bam doesn’t want to.  I have to step in and tell The Don that he has to realize that Bam Bam can’t keep up with him because his legs are shorter than his or at his age he tends to get bored easily and tend to play with something else. 

At this age, Bam Bam likes to explore and won’t stay put for long.  I tell him that Bam Bam needs rest.  I tell him that Bam Bam will play with him later.  I also tell him it’s ok that Bam Bam does other things and you can continue to do what you want to do.  I sing to him, “If your friend doesn’t want to play with you, you can find something else to do.” 

Just like it’s his right to play by himself and not hang out with people he doesn’t feel like, it’s others right to decide who they want to play or hang out with.   Hopefully, this lesson will serve The Don in life to not take things personally if someone doesn’t want to play or hang out with you.  It’ll help him cope with his first heartbreak or job rejection.  It’ll show him that if things don’t work out the way you want it to move on and continue with life.  This is the most valuable lesson of all.


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