Can I play?

What’s the best way for children to approach a situation where some kids are already playing together and they would like to join? While it may seem polite to ask “Can I play too?” this question is often met with a resounding “No!”

A more successful approach is to help children observe what the other kids are doing and then find a way to enter the play. At a preschool a group of children was making a castle for animals out of blocks. They were taking turns putting various stuffed animals in and out of the castle. When Emily asked if she could play too, they told her no.

Emily broke into tears at which point her teacher wisely took her aside and encouraged her to watch what the other kids were doing. She asked Emily some questions about what they were doing and how she might help. Emily decided she could help by building an additional room for the animals onto the castle. This time she just started building an additional room and was successful at joining in the play.

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