19 Month Old Has No Little "Friends" - Should I Worry?

Updated on March 30, 2009
S.J. asks from Pompano Beach, FL
14 answers

I have a very beautiful and fun-loving little girl who loves to laugh and play and is the highlight of my day and life. My husband watches her during the day while I work mon- fri and I have her all to myself 4-5 nights a week, usually every other night (he's a waiter). We have one car, and whoever is working gets it. She has never been in daycare and I have no relatives or friends with kids. I don't even know how children her age interact with eachother. If we go to the park, she will see older children and just tries to get as close to them as possible (literally and once she's close to them she just smiles and stares). Bigger kids have little to no interest with a "baby" and she eventually throws a fit when we have to leave. A friend suggested to find a Church close by that has Sunday school for kids her age. Which I think is great as I have thought a lot lately about going back to Church (I used to attend Catholic Church when I was younger). I don't have the money for those play centers for kids. Any ideas? Should I even worry? She also has an issue with still eating baby food (with the exception of dried crunchy stuff and pickles) and I thought watching another kid her age eat like a big kid may encourage her to.

*It is now several hours later and I thank the Mamas so far who have answered and just wanted to update the question. Unfortunately, driving my husband to work is out of the question as he works until anywhere from 11pm-2AM (how he cheerfully plays with my daughter the next morning makes me believe he is secretly a prince). I go to work early, but I can try to work it out with my boss to maybe come in later one day a week so that he can drop me off...

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answers from Boca Raton on

hi S.,

i worry about this too for my 20 months old daughter, skyla. i have other children, but they are all older and i don't have any friends or family locally that have little ones. something i have found that is easy and free to do with her is take her to the mall. they have a little play area where a bunch of little kids are always playing. it is sooo fun to see her interact with other kids. and there is very little stress in the involvement since we can pick up and stroll the mall if she gets upset. maybe you can try that. good luck. :)

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answers from Boca Raton on

It would be fun for your little girl to socialize with other children. Money is tight for most people these days so we always try to find free or inexpensive things to do in our area. A great resource has been our local libraries. They have story time with play time afterward. It gives the children the experience of a "school" setting, let's them interact with each other children and exposes them to the library and books. Maybe there is a library within walking distance in your town? Good luck, I'm sure you'll do great!

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answers from Miami on

Hi, S.. I think you're on the right track. A church group would be a great idea. Is there any way, though, that you and/or your husband could get some kind of a small play group together? I think that because your daughter has never played with kids before, she doesn't know how to do so, and is used to interacting only with adults. I think if you and/or your husband could just get on the floor with your daughter and a couple of other kids her age, and just play with them, she will see what is appropriate and follow your example.

You know, just playing with blocks or dolls or musical things is a good way to show her how to get involved with other kids. She may not be old enough to understand how to play any kinds of games yet, but once she breaks the ice by doing the toy thing with kids her own age, she will understand how to relate to other kids, and then you can show her and a couple of other kids how to play very simple games like rolling a ball back and forth.

Maybe you can ask the other moms here on this forum if anyone is close enough to you to form a playgroup? I do think that you have something to be a little bit concerned about, but not worried yet. You do, however, want her to be comfortable with other children her own age WAY before it's time to take her to school or daycare. Maybe even put up a flyer in the local grocery store asking parents of kids her age to get together in a local park. That way, no one has to have strangers in their own house for the first time, and then you can make friends and invite them over for indoor playdates.

I hope these ideas are helpful to you, and that your daughter absolutely thrives socially! She sounds absolutely delightful!


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answers from Boca Raton on

Hi S.! First off, I love your name..my daughter's name is Star. Okay, I agree with the last mom...could your hubby drive you to work to have the car one or two days a week? Or any way you can carpool, so he has the car? I think he really needs to be able to drive her around during the day, at least sometimes. Check your local library. They offer wonderful children's classes for your daughters age. We live in Wellington, but I am confident your local pompano library will offer the same. I take my daughter to her toddler group one day a week. The group time lasts 1/2 hour, and then we stay and play at the library, as do many other kids. This gives Star a chance to learn, and play with other children. Keep taking her to the park as well. At her age, you can't expect her to really play with other kids...they mostly play near each other, kind of side by side play..but she still needs to be near kids her age, even if just to watch their behavior. You know, your library might even offer a saturday class..and best of all, it's free..your taxes pay for it. Also, is there a JCC near you? I haven't visited one myself, but I want to ( and I'm pretty sure you don't have to be Jewish). There is one near my home that offers a 2 hour playtime Wed. mornings, for only $3. Maybe there is one near you? Good luck. It is great that you are seeing that she needs the interaction. And yes, if you are interested in church, then she can go in the nursery, and play with the other kids at that time. Good luck!!
A. :)

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answers from Port St. Lucie on

Hey S.,
I'm no mamma, I am a daddy (no site for us), but I entered this site accidently and since I am very involved with my 20 month old son, this site is great. But, to the point, someone else hit it directly, you're child needs more interaction with other toddlers. Seen it a few times.

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answers from Gainesville on

There is nothing wrong with her. She doesn't know how to act with other kids because she's never done it. Church is a good idea, since it's on the weekends and you can figure out the logistics.
I think it's up to your husband to get her out and interacting with playmates, although you should probably help him out with doing the research to find a dad's group. It would probably be good for him too, although as someone who waited tables in college I know that he might not want or need to deal with people any more than he gets at his job.
Depending on where you are, activities at your local library could provide some social interaction for her and they are free. There are free programs at some museums. Your library is a wonderful source of community information for things like that; make some time to go and get some brochures, then do the legwork to figure out the logistics.
I think your daughter will be fine no matter what you do, but she will likely be more shy in pre-school in the beginning, depending on her personality. My daughter is inclined to be introverted, and we have her in part time daycare, which I think is very good for her. She loves it. If your daughter is naturally outgoing, I think it will be an easier transition for her. If she is naturally shy, I think it would be more beneficial to make the effort to find her some playmates, through programs at the library or local mom's/dad's groups.

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answers from Ocala on

At 19 months old your little angel and many her age are unsure of how to make friends. She needs to be in an environment that is child friendly on a daily basis. This is a place that she can play and learn freely, as well as meet others her age or just slightly older, so they can learn from one another. Your daughter just needs more opportunities to be socially active and she'll be fine. I 've had children that I've cared for over the years attend my home-based learning academy just like you've described and they've all become social butterflies.



answers from Panama City on


Your friends idea of taking her to church is a great one!
My 21 mo. old wouldn't have any little friends either if it weren't for our wonderful church family. He loves to go play with his friends at church. Of course, you need to visit several types of churches to see which one is right for you and for your daughter. But once you find the right one, you will be blessed and so will your little one.

Take Care,
Mom of 4



answers from Miami on

Hello Sara

I am a mother of 3 children each are 8 years apart each sibling is an only child. You should not worry if your child does not have other children to play with.Once she attends pre-scool or kindergarden it comes natural.
You and your husband can teach her what other children would. First you need to teach her to share that is the what being around other children teach you, and that is also a responsibility of the parents also teach her to be kind to others by being kind to you and your husband and boundaries as well. The issue she has with food is not hers she is just a little girl, children don't have issue with food is the parents that make the issues. Loving a child is also teaching them new things and accepting change, if you as the mother feel she has issues with food than she will feel that as well. As I wrote earlier I have raised 3 children one is 24,17,8. All very different common denominator was same parents. Make food fun not an issue and if you want to change her eating habits its up to you be firm yet loving you are the adult not her also if she learns to eat other food by watching other children are you going to be monitoring that it is always healthy food. Parents give children a lot of junk food in this country specially since we are always in a hurry. I think its upto the parents to teach a child what to eat not another child.



answers from Orlando on

Maybe you can ask hubby to take walks outside in the morning and you take another one with her at night so you can try and meet some kids in the neighborhood. Don't be shy about letting them know you want to set up a playdate and then follow up with it. Try to spend lots of time playing outside drawing with chalk, blowing bubbles, etc. and you're bound to come across another little one.



answers from Jacksonville on

Just a quick idea; the bus. I don't know where you live, but if you are anywhere near a bus, they are affordable, dependable and a means for you to get around a little while your husband has the car. Playgrounds around town are free as is the beach. I also used to take my littlest one to the tot play areas at the malls a couple of times a week. They are able to interact with children near their age, it's climate controlled and secure.



answers from Gainesville on

Is it possible your husband could drop you off at work, even just one day a week, so they could do something where there are other kids, or even join a playgroup that has scheduled outings to the park or other free events?



answers from Boca Raton on

I agree with what everyone else has said so far...side by side play is normal for this age- they don't really start actually playing "with" each other for quite some time. So no worries on that. I would just keep doing the park, and also this website is a GREAT way to make new friends- you can always set up playdates on weekends when you don't have to work with other girls who have kids around your daughter's age. You could drop your husband off at work and meet a new friend at the mall or the park and eventually you'll end up doing what I do- we have friends and their kids over on Friday or Saturday nights and the adults hang out while the kids play.



answers from Mayaguez on

No need to worry. My grandaughter only had contact with other children when she went to her other grandma's--and then only with 8-9 yr olds. We played, finger painted, sang, danced (she loved TV videos),did everything and anything she wanted to do together. They grow so fast it is time so well spent you will cherish it forever.She is in school since pre-kinder and adjusted fine to being with other children her age. Enjoy every minute of your little princess's time.

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