As much as I try to get playdates in with other babies with some consistency, it just doesn't happen all that frequently. My DD is home with me and DH all day, as we both work from home. I always take her with me and wear her on errands, so she gets interaction in that way. Am I totally messing up by not prioritizing playdates?
Importance of social interaction with other babies?
Not at all! Children will learn from anyone of any age. In fact, I think it's silly to plan playdates for babies! They don't "play" with each other until 2 1/2 -4 years old. Your baby will learn far more from being worn while you work around the house and go for walks out of the house.
I really think baby playdates are really for the mamas who are there! ;)
I take Zach on playdates... So I can be with other adults! :) They are not interesting to him at all; he'll smile at the other baby for two seconds and then become engrossed in slobbering the nearest toy. Social interaction doesn't become really essential until the pre-school years. When I used to teach, I would see the 2.5 yr olds coming in at the beginning of the year completely oblivious to the other children; they were in their own little bubble. Then they turned 3 and all of a sudden the other children became fascinating. Young children shouldn't be expected to share or have advanced social skills, and these are two unnecessary pressures that arise during some playdates. So, while playdates aren't a bad thing, they're not crucial and you shouldn't feel bad if your babe is hanging out with you. You and your hubby are her favorite people right now, so enjoy that!
I've always heard that playdates are for the parents, not the babies, and that children under two didn't play together. I believed it until I had a baby. My 8-month-old is very social and just loves other children! He'll crawl around after other babies and babble at them. He's actually happier when other kids are in the room.
However, he also likes adult interaction. I don't think you need to prioritize playdates, just take them when they come up.
with my first I did lots of baby centered stuff (library story time, music classes, group play dates ). All my friends had kids close in age to mine.
With my youngest, she gets so much interaction with her big sis and friends (preteen girls just go crazy for babies) that I haven't had the need. My toddler doesn't need friends, she needs interaction with others. My friends now mostly have kids, but a much wider range
I try to do one or two playdates a week, because my son seems to really love being around other babies and kids and it gives me an opportunity to start teaching him about sharing. He gets bored and fussy just hanging out with me all day. But when playdates don't work out, I don't worry about it, and I don't prioritize it. They're just for fun.
My Little One started Story Hour a few months ago and it was pretty obvious that she was the least outgoing, most shy-feeling and frightened baby there... she's always been serious and not terribly a fan of humansthatarenotMama. So I prioritized playdates for her after that so she could practice, and I'm proud to say that at almost a year old she only takes 2-4 dates to settle into an environment or group and start to have a good time. For example, we went to a new park today for the 3rd time with some friends, and she finally crawled about a foot or two away from me in the sandbox and had herself a good time with a toy for a few minutes. The first visits she hung and clung and just couldn't really relax.
I don't mind that she often feels shy, I don't push her away or force anything on her, I just don't want her to have a huge shock when the time comes for preschool so we go out and practice. So for us, playdates are important. But I think it's very individual. If your child is happy chatting up the fishmonger at the grocery, don't worry so much about it!