Hi Dr. Joanette, My daughter, age seven, only wants to play with younger kids.
What might be some of the reasons your child only wants to play with younger kids?
It could also be that she finds it easier to relate to younger kids and feels more comfortable around them.
Whatever the case may be, it’s important to talk to your child and try to figure out what’s going on.
Please don’t make this an inquisition but rather get curious with her.
Possibly share a story of a time when you were around her age. You could say, “I remember when I was about seven, and I loved playing with kids younger than me. It was fun to make up games for them to play and show them how to do things. Kind of like what I see you doing; that’s so interesting how we’re alike.”
You are normalizing what she likes to do and letting her know she isn’t alone and that you understand her. She may not open up about why she likes to play with younger kids, and that’s ok.
There isn’t anything abnormal about her behavior, and she will feel your support when she is ready to play more with kids her own age.