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3 year old needs more time to adjust to playing at preschool

Question

Hi! I have spoken with a coach via email, and was happy with the response. I recently spoke with my recently turned 3 year old son’s teachers, and had a chance to sit in on one of his church child care classes and observe. Here are some details on what I see and am concerned about:

1. He doesn’t like to play with kids his age or younger. Plays very well with older children (sister is almost 8). They play very imaginatively, and make up adventures. He will play with younger children if I sit with them and show him how to play, and make it fun. But if in a classroom without me, he just yells if someone gets in his space.

2. The biggest thing is the yelling. It has at least improved... last year, he was throwing big screaming tantrums. He hasn’t thrown tantrums in the longest time. He yells if someone gets close to his space, if someone has something he wants, if someone tries to take something from him. I watched him yell at a little boy today for no reason that was riding a push toy past him.

It’s hard for me to watch, because he does SO well at home. I’ve trained him to say “I don’t like that” if either his sister or I take something from him, or to say “can I have that back please?” But generally, he doesn’t get into much conflict at home. He usually just whines about things, like if he wants me to play with him. I guess my question is, is this normal? The not wanting to play with children his age. He asks every morning to go see his classmates, even names them off. If they are all running around and being silly, or playing outside, he will actively engage and laugh with them. But not in a classroom with toys.

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