Child care conundrum

Why your toddler might prefer spending time with older children

Q: My two-year-old attends one home daycare about 10 days a month, and another for about three days a month. She loves both. She’s usually heading straight for the toys before I get out the door at the first home; she’s the only kid her age there, the others being the caregiver’s three-, five- and 12-year-olds. Every time I drop her off at the other home she cries, even though there are lots of kids her age there to play with. What’s going on?

A: The home your daughter attends more often seems to be the one where she feels the most comfortable, but that’s probably not the whole story — she may also prefer the attention of the adult there. The older children at this home could be a draw too; after all, she probably doesn’t have to share the toys she’s interested in and the kids might involve her in group play by providing guidance and quasi-supervision. Your daughter may find it more difficult to get the attention she craves at the other home, where she is competing with several children her age. Two-year-olds are notorious for not being able to share and are still very self-focused while playing — a normal phase of development.