How can I make my toddler realize his brother doesn't always want to play with him?

How can I make my 3 year old realizw that his 10 year old brother doesnt always want to play with him? his brother does play with him sometimes but hes 10, he has other things to do besides play with a toddler…sometimes i force him to play with him so my toddler will sotp asking but i dont want him to resent his younger brother…what do i do


Help a mama out and respond anonymously on our forum. How can I make my toddler realize his brother doesn't always want to play with him?

This will be a constant battle due to age. My 11 year old still wants his 17 yr old brother to play.


I go through this with my 10 and 4 year old. I just tell him bubba doesn’t want to play right now or his brother has started telling him not right now I’ll play with you later

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You step in and play with him or encourage independent play. Healthy too


find some friends for him to play with without his brown around.


You play with him or encourage him to play by himself. If he throws a fit or cries about it then he can sit in a chair or couch till he calms down. Do not force your older child to play with the younger one if he doesn’t want to because you don’t want him to resent his younger brother


Goin through the same with my 11 year old and 8 year old :frowning:


Find friends his age. Step in and play for a few minutes.
Also, let your oldest tell him “Not right now.”
Ensure your 3yr old has things to do. Coloring, music, blocks, big legos, hot wheels, whatever. Ask him to make you something, a house, a picture, a race track…anything to keep him busy. He won’t understand fully quite yet but this will be a thing forever.
My 12yr old wants her 20yr old brothers attention and they just end up getting on my nerves. Lol

Talk to your 10 year old and see about setting up play time with his little brother each day. Explain to him that his little brother loves him and that he is a role model for his younger brother who looks up to him. See if he’s willing to set aside an hour each day to play with his younger brother. Do it after dinner, when everyone has had a chance to get their stuff done for the day and is winding down. Maybe give the toddler a bath and snack, and the last hour before bedtime can be their hour. This will both give your toddler something to look forward to each day and it will ensure that your older son has an out to end play time because it’s now bed time.

My youngest daughter is 9 and her older sisters are 19. She still sometimes asks them to play with her. Sometimes they do and sometimes they don’t. The oldest of the twins sometimes even has sleep overs with her younger sister.

I don’t know how far you want to go into things with your 10 year old, but I have 4 kids. Sometimes they get along well, other times I wonder if they’re about to kill one another. I remind them that one day, when their parents are gone, all they will have is each other and it’s important for them to be considerate of one another.


You should be playing with him.


Toddlers need to play with children in the same age bracket. Not fair to older siblings.


Relieve your son and you play with him. Find him some play buddies his age that can come have playtime at your house with him. He a toddler he doesn’t know that his brother don’t wont to play with him all the time.


I’m going through the same thing… except my boys are 8 yrs old & twins.

You could play with him. Or give him independent activities like drawing or play dough.


You force the older one to play with him ? That’s going to cause issues


Tell the younger one that his brother wants some alone time and he doesn’t want to play right now. Simple.


I would set a time aside (that works with the older child) for them to play together. Just 2 or 3 times week for sure. I wouldn’t say it’s forcing it because you would run it by the older child. Have him play, read, or watch a movie with the younger child. That way they do create a brotherly bond. You don’t want resentment but do want a bond.

Explain personal time and boundaries in words that will make sense to him. Also make a phrase that if your older child says it, he knows its time for his brothers personal time. Explain to the older child that he still needs to play with the younger one sometimes, but after playing he can let the younger one know that he needs some time to himself. You will have to remind them here or there but it’ll get to be a habit.

My kids will play with each other but when they’re done they will say to each other, “I think I need some me time right now.” And thats that. Sometimes I have the younger ones coming to me upset and I just let them know everyone needs their own space and that doesn’t mean they dont like them. I offer suggestions of other things to do, like play doh, coloring etc.

I feel this… I’ve got a 3 yr old and a 17 yr old and a 15yr old. Its a headache getting them to play with the little one.

I would try talking with the 10 year old. Instead of forcing to play,teach him ways to gently say no and to give reasons why. “Not right now because I’m feeling a little tired but I will in a bit” Maybe even try to teach the 10 year old to give the 3 year old other options. “You could play with your cars for a bit instead” it helps when it’s coming from the big brother sometimes. Also,step in and play with him when he’s bothering the older one. I wouldn’t ever force any play at this age.


Katie Case you might get some good advice from this post…

Try explaining to him that his brother wants to do big kid things rn but maybe later he will play with him then also have a talk with your older son about making time to spend with his younger brother and explain that the younger brother looks up to him

My oldest politely tells my youngest they don’t want to play right now & that when they do, they’ll come get their sibling. Then I explained to my younger one (who looks up to the older one) that sometimes we enjoy playing alone. It helped them better understand it. And learn to play alone.


I feel this. I have a 2.5 year old and a 10 year old. Sometimes my 10 year old will want to play but my 2.5 year old doesn’t and vice versa. You can try to explain brother needs his time but at that age they can’t even process emotions. Only thing you can do is try to distract them or find them something to occupy their time.

Ooh. Making the 10 year old play with the toddler is going to set up some resentment issues, I’m afraid. You’re going to have to teach the toddler to amuse himself. Play Doh on newspaper is a good start. Show him how to make things. I wouldn’t go with all the equipment for the Play Doh yet, or give him more than a couple of colors at a time, but it might keep him entertained a bit. There are also markers that won’t write on anything but the special paper that comes with them. That might be a good idea. There are also educational movies you can get and there are TV shows geared toward toddlers learning shapes, colors, numbers, and letters. They also show animals and cartoons that show people caring about each other. These are all good things that can entertain your toddler while you get your work done. I would also recommend that you sit down on the floor and play with him, read to him, play any kind of music and sing to him. He’ll enjoy it. And when your 10 year old is in the mood, having him spend awhile with the toddler would be great.


They gotta work it out THEMSELVES


I have 5 boys and I learned very early on that the little ones will often take direction better from their siblings. Talk to your 10 year old and let them know that if they don’t want to play, that’s okay and they just need to tell the younger one politely that they aren’t ready to play yet but when they are, they’ll come find them and have your 10 year old ask the younger one when he’s ready, “Would you like to play with me?” it teaches that mutual respect that it’s okay to not want to play etc. Talk to your little one and remind them that sometimes it’s okay to play by themselves and that when their older sibling is ready to play they’ll come find you. It’s hard to make them understand anything from our points of view, sometimes it’s best to bow out and let your kids handle it themselves. It will teach them life skills you just can’t and I don’t know how to explain it.


Give your son his private space to get away from his brother

You do what my mom did to my siblings. Tell them they have to do whatever it is but include their sibling.


Talk to them both and tell them honestly and openly exactly what is happening. Get creative ideas to keep the toddler busy and less asking about brother to play. Just things for him to do will avert his attention.

All y’all telling her to explain to a 3 year old that his brother doesn’t want to play with him right now like he’s fully going to understand :woozy_face::woman_facepalming: the child is 3, the older child is going to have to understand that this is going to continue to happen being no longer an only child. The toddler should be wanting to do things with his big brother and his big brother should be wanting to teach his younger brother things and have a bond :woman_shrugging:t3: I get the older one is only 10 but the child has had 3 years to learn that the younger one is going to want his attention and to be with his big brother.


Redirect the toddler to something else and say something similar to, it’s time to have self care time. Make it a positive :sparkles:


“Leave him alone for a bit” a 3 year old isnt gunna understand privacy. They are 3 :joy: and no. Siblings shouldnt be forced to play and not have alone time. THats how resentment starts.


If parents want alone time. Kids should get it too. They didnt have the kids :joy: “baby come hang out with me. Leave brother alone” this isnt hard. :joy::joy::joy::joy:


My youngest is 3 in December and my middle child just turned 11 and they play constantly. My 14 year old very rarely has an interest. Your 3 year old won’t understand he’s too young you can try and explain it to him but also speak to your 10 year old, let him go to the younger brother don’t force it. He also needs his own time and space and gradually he will go to him

To everyone one saying a 3 year old won’t understand if you set boundaries, y’all clearly never seen Jonah and carter on tiktok, the younger you reinforce boundaries and redirect behaviours the better, and those saying the older boy should want to be around his brother, kids aren’t inherently born knowing what roles and responsibilities mean, 10yr old doesn’t understand what society expects from him as an older brother, he’s probably busy worrying about his own future, and in these circumstances better to teach your younger child boundaries then pushing responsibility roles on your older child


Is there a local play group that the 3 yes old can get involved with . That way he has his own little group of friends and the 10 yr old won’t feel so tied down.


I wouldn’t force him. I am the older sibling. Join a moms group and find some friends with kids the same age. Who knows, the moms might just need friends too.


Teaching boundaries is healthy. Just say brother is kind of busy right now, brother is tired. Brother wants to do something else right now. Brother wants to be alone right now. Brother doesn’t want to play right now. Come play with Mommy instead. Let’s go play with your chalk/crayons/etc instead, okay?


Same here but cousins that are 3 and 9. Mostly they fight!!!

learning stuff on i -pad will keep him busy

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Is there a pre-school that he could attend 2 or 3 days a week so he can play with children his age.

I tell my older kids play with their little brother half hour at a time n at that end I tell my 4yr old it’s time for brother/sister to play by themselves


Hes 3 and will hassle his brother no matter what. His brother is probably his most favourite person in the world. Explain to your older son thats how he sees him and playing with him now when he’s small, he will remember as they grow.


redirect the toddler to a different alone activity. or a task.

When you find out let us know


The only way I get my baby to leave my older kids alone is by removing them from the situation. I have to take my youngest away from the middle to get them a break. And that’s OK. Kids just want to play with other kids and older kids need a break just as much if not more than adults do from little ones. I’ll grab my little one and have a movie break or take them in the poolnir bring them in the kitchen to do snack. I tell all my kids that the main lilting areas are fair game to anyone. If they don’t want the baby playing with them then they can go their bedroom or outside to play. I also don’t let my little one get on theor nerves too much if I can help it. Sometimes tbh I’ll just say hey here’s the phone watch a video for a few mins and all is well. But then again my baby is 6 and the next is 9. So they are only 3 years apart and tbh those 2 have always done everything together and they don’t argue or hate to play together very often.


I sat my oldest down and simply told him “you get to go to school, and you make friends outside of our home. Sometimes you even get to go to your friends houses, or they get to come here… your sister doesn’t have that, you’re all she knows right now. YOU are her only and very best friend right now, one day that will change and she will have friends of her own, but for now, do you think you could play with her for a little longer and be the friend she needs?”

7 Likes the same boat but I got a 10 yr old girl an 4 yr old boy! Its tough! Good luck Momma!

Plan a play date together. Go to the park or playground or library. Is there a hobby or craft or game that’s interesting to both ?? I know, I’m stretching… good luck !!!

Yeah don’t force the 10yr old to play with the 3yr old. It’s not fun for them. Find things for the 3yr old to do on their own and also for you to do things with the 3yr old. Don’t put all that on your 10yr old. Yes they should have time spent together but maybe its a game night with everyone together or something both of them like to do. But don’t expect your 10yr old to entertain your 3yr old all the time.


Invite over another toddler

Going through this now with my 5 yr old. Her 5 siblings are ages 7-16 and she thinks the world of them. The minute she’s left to play alone she feels so lonely. I have to encourage the older ones to spend some time with her and then I’ll remove her and tell her they need some time for themselves now.

I have a 3 yr old and a 12 yr old. I tell him bro bro needs his space right now but mommy wants to do a puzzle, paint play a game etc with him. I also do it to my 12 yr old as well. When my three year old is chill and we are calming down. I tell my 12 yr old Kay needs space right now. They are so use to it they understand eachother. My three yr old now verbalizes space and my 12 yr old as well and they get it

Why is your 10 year old being Forced to play with there sibling, your decided to have ur child so surly it’s down to you to entertain your child, when ur older child doesn’t want to play you simple tell the young child no end of x

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You play with him. Tell him his brother “doesn’t want to play right now but I would like to play” and then suggest something to play

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Maybe you play with him instead so he doesn’t bother his older brother

You need to make time to play with your toddler or have play dates with other moms with kids the same age. Treat this younger child like you did the older one essentially.

This goes on forevermore

I have two Boys it just a part of growing up

I have same problem but my toddler is 2 and his brother is 12

Our oldest is 21 she will still play with her 9yr old brothers and her now 9month old brother and our boys are the same with their baby brother as they should please encourage that bond as I know my oldest boys absolutely treasure it with their sister