From the ages of 0-5, our brains go through more development than at any other similar time frame throughout our lives. If you’ve got multiple children under the age of 5, you’ve witnessed this firsthand; a difference of even one year can mean dramatic differences in children’s interests, abilities, and developmental imperatives.
This can also make it very difficult for children under the age of 5 and of disparate ages to find ways to play with each other in the way that each one would prefer most. Currently, the things my 4.75 year old wants to do (beading, using scissors and glue, painting) are fundamentally incompatible with my 10 month old’s interests (climbing things, grabbing things, putting things in her mouth).
Through trial and error (and no small amount of desperation), I’ve worked out nine wonderful activities that my disparate-aged children enjoy doing together for more than 37 seconds at a time. Try them out and let me know how they work for you, or tell me about how your family enjoys playing together!
Rebekka Helford is a licensed marriage and family therapist in private practice in Los Angeles, California. With over a decade of experience working with parents and young children, Rebekka specializes in short-term intensive parenting consultation, using a variety of tools including home, office, and school visits to help families navigate developmental hiccups and get back on track.
Click here to schedule an appointment or contact Rebekka with a question – who knows, she might even answer it in her next post!
For additional reading:
- Parent Q&A: Two kids, one parent, and a screen
- Parent Q&A: When toddler bites really bite
- Recommended children’s books: Sibling stories