5The Benefits of Group Play

How familiar are you with this scene, or a variation of it?

Tom and Billy, ages 2 or 3, are happily playing side by side and virtually ignoring one another, a fairly common form of “parallel play” at this age. Suddenly, for whatever reason, Tom decides that he “needs” the truck that Billy is playing with and snatches it away. Tears ensue. Sometimes a brawl. The truck may or may not be used as a weapon. Even if no one is bruised, neither child is happy. Suddenly an adult steps in, breaks up the argument, and says, “You have to learn to share.” (This scenario works with girls and their toys as well.)

Although that may quell the argument for a moment, don’t be surprised if Billy and Tom have no idea what to do with this ...

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