(Goblin is nearly 4)Goblin and I took an outing the other day to a country park near us. He'd asked to see his friends but I hadn't organised anything in advance and failed to find anyone free. So we just went together.
Once we got there Goblin realised there were lots of other children around and went in search of a play mate.
But there is another side to watching my son play with other children. A sad side. Watching when children reject his advances and shut him out of their games. That hurts me as much as it must hurt Goblin. But I can't intervene. I can't force a child to like my child or want to play with him. When he was younger I would intervene, to show both parties how to play nicely. But now he is choosing to play with a wider age range so he needs to work these things out for himself. Some children will want to play, and some won't. I have to let him find his own way.
I'm sure this is one of many things that I will discover I cannot do for my child. I can't give him friends. I can give him tools and phrases to help him make friends. And I can try and build his confidence so he can talk to new children and bounce back from rebuffs. But he's on his own. He has to forge his own way and I have to sit back and watch and hope it isn't too painful.