YOUR BABY ASKED OCCUPATIONAL THERAPIST REBECCA WALLIS TO TACKLE SOME COMMON PLAY ISSUES
I fetched my two-year-old early from crèche recently and watched her in the playground for a while. She didn’t seem to play or interact with any other children. Should I be concerned?
Children’s play is predominantly parallel between the ages of one and three years. This means that when placed in the play space together, children of this age will generally play alongside one another. They may play with the same objects and may be able to share these objects, but will not be playing together in a cooperative way. Cooperative social play starts to emerge more between the ages of three and four and children are able to play more complex cooperative games with rules by the time they are five.
My 18-month-old son cannot jump yet. His older brother could jump by the age of two. Should I get him assessed?
A child’s ability to jump is determined by several factors, including their physical strength, coordination, bilateral integration and motor planning. A child should start attempting to jump at 18 months to two years, but will not experience much success and this will depend on when they reached their other gross-motor milestones. By the age of three the child should be able to jump on two feet and land on two feet. If a child is unable to jump at this age, and is experiencing other gross-motor delays, such as having difficulty with running or standing up from sitting, then an assessment is recommended.
My daughter is at preschool, but she is too scared to go down the slides or play on the jungle gym. I’m worried that this will affect her ability to make friends. How can I build her confidence?
Once again this could be the result of several different factors. The child’s overall anxiety levels should be considered, as should their confidence in other gross-motor play activities. A fear of jumping or going down a slide, particularly in a child who is very cautious in walking down stairs, or who avoids swings, is likely due to a lack of integration in the vestibular system. An occupational therapy assessment (sensory integration practice) would be recommended in this case.