Let's talk about socialization and toddlers - Mothering Forums

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Old 01-29-2011, 09:50 PM - Thread Starter
 
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My dd will be 18 months tomorrow. I have been a sahm the entire time and will continue to do so. My inlaws have recently began talking to dh and I about putting dd in preschool or mommy's morning out a few days a week. They believe that unless dd has daily exposure to children her age she will not develop the proper skills to deal with people and become socially inept. Dh and I disagree. We want to be the primary influences in her life, at least until 5 or so and even then we are planning on unschooling. We want her to have developed a stronger sense of self before being exposed to her peers on a large scale. This is not to say we completely isolate her. There are toddler days at local museums, zoos and whatnot that we regularly take her to, as well as the park and nearby indoor playground where she is exposed to children of all ages. But they don't seem to think that is enough. They say she needs structured, organized socialization away from us. What do you think? Any suggestions on how we should handle this situation gently?

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Old 01-29-2011, 10:43 PM
 
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my son is 15 mths and we just started going to a co-op preschool (parents stay to participate). I am surprised at how fearful he is when other babies make loud noises, how he has no idea what to do when a child takes his toy (doesn't even cry) just looks perplexed, and heaven forbid they should touch him - which they do of course.  Anyway, I am glad he is getting the exposure now because his sense of self needs practice holding together amid 6 other precious senses of self!

 

Also, having his exposure limited to a specific, familiar group of people just seems like the best way to learn to actually relate to others. I know I feel uncomfortable in a crowd! hope that helps.

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Old 01-30-2011, 02:42 AM
 
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Do I think that a child that's only 18 months old needs socialization AWAY from parents? Definitely not! What I do think is good for children at that age and older is to have regular playdates with kids that they can form a bond with.  Before moving we had regular playdates with two kids in particular and DD really did form a bond with them.  She still asks about them often and loves to look at pictures of them.  Plus it was nice to be able to see another mom and chat with her while the kids play.  DD will start preschool soon but that has much more to do with my work situation than anything else.  Why not try and join a local AP playgroup?  Then your child will have regular interaction with liked-minded parents but it's definitely not like you need to actually leave your child somewhere to do that (and it certainly doesn't have to be a daily thing!).

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Old 01-30-2011, 06:32 AM
 
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I'll be the voice of dissent.  My ds has been in daycare since he was 1 (as in just turned one), and he's been with other kids whose parents are close friends of mine (we all go to the same school, daycare is at the school).  I think that having time away from me, has helped my ds develop his sense of self, and the other kids too.  They play together (yes together, not parallel play) now and my ds is 2, and the other boys are 19mo and 15mo (the 15mo holds his own, but he's more parallel playing still).  They pick up different skills from each other, and learn words from each other.  They also hold hands and are very sweet with each other.  One of the boys never would have come out his shell if his mom was always with him b/c he's super introverted, but he holds his own with all the others now. 

 

Anyway, I think its important for kids to be given the chance to be with other people.  The more people who love my child the better off he is!

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Old 01-30-2011, 10:06 AM
 
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Do I think that a child that's only 18 months old needs socialization AWAY from parents? Definitely not! What I do think is good for children at that age and older is to have regular playdates with kids that they can form a bond with.

 

I agree... I think it's great for my DS to develop some peer relationships (rather than just being loosely exposed to other toddlers at the zoo) -- so regular playdates are a great option. We belong to an AP meetup group & get together with them regularly. The group is large (and growing!) so there is always a combination of old friends & new ones at our meetups, some are a couple years older than him & some are newborns... DS talks about his friends and gets excited to go see them and gives them hugs and plays so much better when he's around them (and I get to chat with ADULTS!)

 

I definitely don't think toddlers NEED daycare/preschool (unless the SAHP needs a break for their sanity) but I do think that kids need a chance to be around other familiar kids (and their parents/other adults). I don't think there's anything 'wrong' with sticking only to trips to the park/museum/etc. but I do think there are benefits to being around familiar people rather than just strangers.

 

Another thing my DS LOVES is the children's program at our church. I attend with him (most of the kids are schoolage so I wouldn't feel comfortable leaving him there on his own)... also storyhours at the library (his favorite thing ever!)... I feel like these kind of things expose him to more structured settings and I do think he really benefits from them in mutliple ways.It's certainly not something I would force on a kid that wasn't interested but if they like it, it's just another way for them to learn things like how to act in public, wait your turn, interact with less-familiar adults & understand there are other people in the world that they can learn from & rely on...

 

Sorry this is wordy. Bottom line, there are tons of ways to socialize which may or may not include preschool & other structured settings, but if you're happy & comfortable with how things are now, just politely let your inlaws know that this is what you think is best for DD.
 


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Old 01-30-2011, 10:56 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for the input guys! You've really helped me put things into perspective. Even though she has regularly been around other kids in large groups (via trips to the zoo, playground, etc.) and has learned to hold her own quite well (she is certainly not shy about jumping into the middle of a group of kids, with or without me at her side), she's not developed any close bonds with anyone her age. The idea of regular playdates sounds like a great idea. However the problem I am having is that my in-laws seem to feel that large, minimally supervised group situations are the only proper way to socialize a toddler. And at this point, I'm simply not comfortable with that.


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Old 01-30-2011, 12:01 PM
 
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Inlaws had the chance to raise their kids their way, now it's your turn to raise yours the way YOU think is best. :) Don't feel bad about not following their 'advice'!!


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Old 01-30-2011, 07:47 PM
 
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No she doesn't.  What do you think people did before daycare became a "norm?"  Children socialized with siblings if they had them, extended family (cousins, that kind of thing) of all ages, not just "their age."  Moms socialized with each other and their kids of similar ages played---neighbors.  Children went to school and socialized with a group of children their own age on a daily basis at age 5 or 6. 

It's a pretty recent "evolution" to have the 'norm' be for a group of 10 one year olds to spend the day with a couple of adults. 

This was the age group I worked with when I did daycare, and quite honestly, I think the children would have been much happier at that age--if they need 'daycare', which I'm not totally against, even though I am very happy to not need it---in a more home-like setting with a mixed age range of children and a smaller group size. 

(for example, my 4 and 2 year old actually get along pretty well most of the time and are *adorable* playing hide-and-seek together!)

 

They *don't* play much 'socially' at this age...they're just not at that stage where they have the skills to cooperatively play yet.  I saw a whole lot of frustration and upset with the kids because one would come knock another one's tower down, lots of things like biting and hitting because they don't have words yet....

 

A big resounding NO I do NOT think one year old children NEED 'socialization' with other one year olds!


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Old 01-30-2011, 07:59 PM
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oh man. i taught in a preschool in a class of slightly older kids (20-24 months-ish) and alot of the time it was just us doing our best to keep them safe and not mauling each other. kids that age are just not designed to be part of large social groups. if you gotta do daycare there are excellent centers and great teachers and yeah....the kids do have fun, some do better than others, and they do most of the time enjoy the company of the adults and other kids. but i wouldn't put my kid in one unless i had to or wanted a break....never for "her" own good. i think maybe that changes around the age of 3 or so..depending on the kid.

 

i'll tell you one thing i've noticed personally about having dd in such a structured setting for a brief period is that since we've been out of that environment (she went 1/2 days for only about 6 months) i've noticed a dramatic decrease in her ability to self-entertain. now it could be her age also...she started at 11 months and now she's 16 months....but she is way worse at independant play than before we started. the first day at home it was shocking how my previously independant kiddo was just on me constantly to read to her to play with her, to sing to her, etc.... i mean that's all they do at daycare is complete child-centered activities. did she get used to being catered to all day? maybe...i dunno. we're working on decompressing now.

 

the other thing i've heard people say is that the structured setting will help them learn to follow direction, learn to clean up, etc... and from what i've seen in my personal experience, all that does not just magically transfer to home without the parent modeling and expecting it as well. sure they might clean up every toy in sight at the drop of a hat at school but unless the parents are teaching that at home it's just not going to happen there.

 

i worked at the same center dd attended so i do know she enjoyed being there, she's very independent and social, but she never lit up with excitement the way she does when she sees the people that we regularly socialize with IRL.


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Old 01-30-2011, 09:06 PM
 
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In laws had the chance to raise their kids their way, now it's your turn to raise yours the way YOU think is best. :) Don't feel bad about not following their 'advice'!!



Yeah that!

 

I got the exact same pressure from my in laws at the exact same time.  They meant well.  They must have thought we led such a boring life.  They saw SIL taking her same aged DS to gymboree, swim, the Y, library time...  (And, my SIL is always very vocal about what she does and why she does it.  I am not.)  They also saw our sensitive little girl every time we visited that <gasp> still exhibited a lot stranger anxiety.  So, their answer was for me to drop her off at preschool.  That would fix that problem, right?  Umm, and I think they also had a beef with me about leaving my career to become a SAHM.

 

There are no clear cut winners in this debate.  Children who have little socialization via organized programs don't become socially inept.  Babies and toddlers who experience organized childcare become neither social butterflies nor delinquents decidedly.  In the end, it matters what is best for your child.  If you look at your child and decide what is best for them individually, then you win!

 

DD just started a preschool at 2.5 which encourages the parents to stay.  It is the sweetest and most gentle program.  I am so lucky to have come across it.  Is she being socialized?  I don't really think so.  Is she sitting at circle time and doing wonderful art and science projects?  Yes. 

 

As for playdates, eh... Again, I don't think she is learning critical social skills there.  We don't do them much, (and we don't call them playdates.)  I don't think she learns much of anything from her playmates other than what it is like to have a bud.  She has actually gleaned way more negative behavior from same aged peers than positive.  But, like I said, she loves to talk about her buddies, and I love having them in my life, too.  It is fun.

 

I am with you in that I believe DD is learning way more social skills by watching us.  And, that is how I like it.  I also believe a lot can be learned among play between parent and child.  So, stuff like taking turns and how to handle a bully is easily modeled through our pretend play together.  FWIW my mom (a preschool teacher) argued that DD had to go to mother's day out to learn how to go to preschool.  My mom claims she knows exactly who went to a program before and who did not.  I call bologna.  From day one DD has had no problems with sitting on her carpet square, speaking to her teacher, and taking turns.  These were all things that came to her naturally as she matured.  Well, this is in our case, anyway.

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Old 01-31-2011, 07:23 AM
 
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Sorry to hear you are having so much trouble dealing with you MIL interfering in your child raising. Mine has done the same thing only, instead of directly telling me what I "should be doing", she says well I did____________when my kids were little. Fill in whatever she disagreed with the way I was doing something with my DS.

As for socialization, I am actually getting pressured from others around me, sadly including my husband, who feels my son is way to fearful of other people. He is 2 and still tends to have bad stranger anxiety. I am a SAHM by choice and I feel I know my son better then anyone who is not with him 24/7. He is just a very shy child until he warms up to people and is not willing to stay with anyone without me, except his dad. I have been told that I just need to leave him and let him CIO till he gets over me being away from him. I think this is just mean and cruel especially since I don't have to leave him most of the time.

I do not worry about what others think, but I do get frustrated with DH when he brings home unsolicited advice from work, (works with all men), then tells me I should do such and such, because that is what everyone else does. Amazing how all these men who work full time and mostly overtime know how things should be done and when with a baby/toddler.

Anyway, I say do what YOU feel is best for your DD as you are the one who is with her the most and know what She needs the most.

((hugs))

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Old 01-31-2011, 09:08 AM
 
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Seems like there are two separate but inter-related issues here: Whether there is a positive social effect of creating situations where your toddler can build relationships with other toddlers, and how to handle your ILs feelings about how you raise your kids.

 

I guess I fall very strongly on the side that while daycare/preschool is not a requirement, it isn't altogether positive for the vast vast majority of the time a toddler has in a week to be 99.9 % with one other person or just the immediate family.  At some point your child will have to interact with the world in meaningful ways, and wouldn't you want to help your child (shy or outgoing, comfortable or anxious) navigate how they interact and build relationships from as young an age as possible?

 

So while trips to the zoo or playground are nice, as someone else said that's still mostly just interacting with strangers and not the same as regular, repeated visits with the same child/children.  You can be the most awesome AP parent in the entire world... you still can't create situations by yourself where your child meets with social uncertainty, and has to figure out how to work through that and then feels the benefits of working through it to maybe make a friend or bond with another child enough that they look forward to seeing that child or interacting.

 

I think there are amazing benefits to being able to be a SAHM and provide that safe, rich enviro for your young'un to develop in.  But why wouldn't you also want to create opportunities for your young'un to regularly be exposed to the same kid or kids and let both your toddler and you learn who your child is and where you may want to nurture them further or focus some of your parenting energy based on what you see as their strengths and their challenges?

 

Then there's the piece about whether you should give your LO time away from you, which to me is a different question from whether they get time with other same age kids on a regular basis whether you're there or not.  This to me is more personal and I understand how parents differ on it.  Me, I have seen 1st hand how both my own LO and those of family and friends developed when with other people away from me.  Dd never spent a night away from both me and DH until she was 22 months, and even then it was a forced work situation that I wasn't happy about.  I was so worried how she'd do, but I've learned that as long as you feel really good about where she goes (we don't have grandparents near by so we have to rely on paid childcare, but we found a couple great people who dd already knew through daycare) then it's actually valuable to give dd that chance to see how she does and how she functions.  Turns out, while she almost never slept through the night at home at that stage, she slept through the night each time she stayed with S.  She was around new kids at S's house and she had a great time, we could see that when we picked her up, she almost didn't want to leave.  And we saw how it affected how she was with other relatives we know who we'd like to be able to leave her with once in awhile but we were worried she didn't have enough of a relationship with.  One aunt who she hadn't bonded with before, because she watched her for a few hours now dd goes to her first before some closer relatives at family gatherings, because she had the chance to bond with her one on one.

 

I feel like it's good - when it can be done in a way that's controlled and DH and I are comfy with the person adn the place - it's really good for dd to be away from both of us.  Obviously at daycare she's away from us all day, but some evenings too I think is good.  And I definitely think it's good for us as adults and a couple to have a little time (even if it's just once every few months) to have a night to ourselves.

 

PPs have covered the whole IL thing and this is long so I'll stop there.  But aren't your in-laws opinions just like everyone else's, where you listen to see if there's anything you may want to try or learn from it, but after that you just go on parenting the best way you can and they have to live with that?  Personally I think they ahve a point, but just because their your ILs doesn't mean you're supposed to follow their every word by any means.

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Old 01-31-2011, 09:20 AM
 
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The only **great** thing I recall about DD going to daycare was how quick she potty learned. She started at 2. 5 years old and was still wearing diapers (I was waiting for her to lead the way in terms of readiness) and her teacher would just ask all the kids in the 2 yo room to line up and take turns sitting on the potty, there were 2 in each bathroom, along with lots of books. She would sit on the potty with her friend, in a non-stressed environment, and nature took it's course. She went from not being at all interested to underwear within 2 wks (and the teacher stressed to me DO NOT do pullups). 

 

That was basically it. I could live without the viruses, headlice, and bad behavior she brought home. DS will not be going to daycare (but maybe to a pt MDO when he's 3 or 4) unless I have return to work for some reason.

 

So, I think you're fine with exposing her to just playgroup-type settings. 


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Old 01-31-2011, 01:04 PM
 
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Do you have ECFE? (Early Childhood Family Education) it is usually run through the school district. Some places will be non-separating, some have group time and then separate time (kids with the teachers, and parents together for discussion/presentation) I'm working now and I still go because I really like the interaction with other (and more experienced!) parents. We talk about joys and concerns, sibling rivalry, child development, etc.  

 

I also like pp comment about the preschool coop.

 

Even though you have a vision of unschooling, building social relationships and social mechanisms and skills are really important, as is fostering her self-independance, because someday you won't be there every second, and she'll have to make decisions on her own, it is good for children to have an opportunity for independance, learning self reliance, and also have other people (other than mom and dad) to rely on and learn from too. All within mean, and age approptiate of course.

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Old 01-31-2011, 10:32 PM
 
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A sort of related question I'll throw in that I've been wondering about with my almost-2-year-old.  What if they don't really like other kids?  Do they eventually get over that?  We spend time with other toddlers (and some babies and older kids too), because I think it's good for him, and the parents are my friends as well.  But he'd much rather play with their toys without having to deal with having other children around.  His favorite social situations are all-adult parties with some new toys around (like when a grandparent has some around for occasionally visiting grandkids).  I'd love to childcare swap with some of my friends, but my kid doesn't liked being watched by others, and having other kids around only increases the stress of mom or dad being gone. 

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Old 02-02-2011, 12:49 AM
 
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Bumping up for some answers for you,

 

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A sort of related question I'll throw in that I've been wondering about with my almost-2-year-old.  What if they don't really like other kids?  Do they eventually get over that?  We spend time with other toddlers (and some babies and older kids too), because I think it's good for him, and the parents are my friends as well.  But he'd much rather play with their toys without having to deal with having other children around.  His favorite social situations are all-adult parties with some new toys around (like when a grandparent has some around for occasionally visiting grandkids).  I'd love to childcare swap with some of my friends, but my kid doesn't liked being watched by others, and having other kids around only increases the stress of mom or dad being gone. 


I don't know.  I do know that if something really stresses out my DD we avoid it, and I am SURE he will outgrow it.  Also, I have found that four year olds make great playmates for my two year old.  IME 2 year olds do not mix well at all.  They should be sprinkled lightly amongst other age groups.  Volatile substances they are.  JMO.
 

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Old 02-02-2011, 11:26 AM
 
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Interesting about the older kids.  I almost find them worse.  The 3 and 5 year olds are always in his face, they move quickly, yell loudly, and won't quite talk to him yet.  He talks quite well, but they can't quite get over his reversed pronouns, and laugh at his mispronunciations (e.g.  one 3 year old turns to another 3 year old: "he said Booberries!").  Perhaps that's because there's a gang of them that age, not just one older kid.  If I'm there he's not too stressed out, just avoids the other kids.  I think he does learn a little by watching them, though.

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Old 02-02-2011, 11:39 AM
 
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Personally, I think 18 months is a bit young for preschool.  However, I would welcome putting DD in a drop in daycare or play center from time to time.  I do think it's important for her to socialize with other children her age.  Right now I take her to indoor play areas at least once a week (we go to the park too but there's not a lot of one on one socialization at the park).  Plus she has a playdate every week with a boy a few months younger than her.  During her playtime I encourage her to share and communicate with the other children.  She loves being around other kids and it's fun to see how excited she gets when she's around them.

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Old 02-08-2011, 05:38 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Sorry its taken me so long to get back. My life got SO crazy the past couple of weeks!
 

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oh man. i taught in a preschool in a class of slightly older kids (20-24 months-ish) and alot of the time it was just us doing our best to keep them safe and not mauling each other. kids that age are just not designed to be part of large social groups. if you gotta do daycare there are excellent centers and great teachers and yeah....the kids do have fun, some do better than others, and they do most of the time enjoy the company of the adults and other kids. but i wouldn't put my kid in one unless i had to or wanted a break....never for "her" own good. i think maybe that changes around the age of 3 or so..depending on the kid.

Yeah, while I'm not completely against preschool/daycares, and I do agree they can have some positive aspects, I don't think they're the best place to socialize a young child. At this age most toddlers have not yet fully developed impulse control, empathy or the ability to gauge the consequences of their actions. Their minds basically work on the principle of, "I see it, I want it, it's mine," and they will do anything to get whatever it is (push, pull, grab, hit.) And, unfortunately, these behaviors get reinforced daily at daycares. Kids begin to think this is the way you are supposed to act, because they are faced with it everyday. Even at this age, peer influence is incredibly powerful.

 

 

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I am with you in that I believe DD is learning way more social skills by watching us.  And, that is how I like it.  I also believe a lot can be learned among play between parent and child.  So, stuff like taking turns and how to handle a bully is easily modeled through our pretend play together. 

Yes, that.
 

 



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Originally Posted by LROM View Post
 

At some point your child will have to interact with the world in meaningful ways, and wouldn't you want to help your child (shy or outgoing, comfortable or anxious) navigate how they interact and build relationships from as young an age as possible?

 

I think there are amazing benefits to being able to be a SAHM and provide that safe, rich enviro for your young'un to develop in.  But why wouldn't you also want to create opportunities for your young'un to regularly be exposed to the same kid or kids and let both your toddler and you learn who your child is and where you may want to nurture them further or focus some of your parenting energy based on what you see as their strengths and their challenges?

I have to agree. After reading all the responses and giving the matter a great deal of thought, I realized that regular exposure to the same couple of kids was something that, admittedly, I had not even considered. Thus far, I'd been operating off the idea that at this age, she is pretty much as blank slate. She has not yet developed self-knowledge: who she is, what she wants and what she's capable of. I wanted her to grow up knowing herself well enough that she does not need the groups (or even her friends) approval to maintain her self-confidence. I felt that, at this age, throwing her into a large group of her peers daily she would, even this young, be faced with peer pressure and not having a strong sense of self, be easily molded into thinking that what the group does and how it acts is how she should be and act. (I've read alot of John Holt recently) and built up a worst case scenario in my head. Basically, I scared myself. Not the wisest thing to do when you're a parent!
 

 



 


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Old 02-08-2011, 10:47 AM
 
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Ok, I'm not trying to come off as hyper-critical so please take this with a gentle tone. shy.gif I bolded the part of your response that bothered me. I tend to think that assuming kids are a blank slate goes against quite a bit of AP. I fed DD on demand as a infant because I believed she already knew when she was hungry and when she wasn't. I saw from infancy that she already had preferences, she HATED disposable diapers (and actually would hold her pee/poop until we took her diaper off because she hated them so much). Cloth she liked quite a bit better. Now she's two and she has so many preferences it's insane.  biggrinbounce.gif We try to honor them as much as possible (as long as it doesn't affect others or herself negatively... like eating just ice cream all day!).

 

 

DD is very, very social. She loves other kids and especially other kids that she knows well. She definitely can form bonds and even at a young age showed a preference for certain kids over others (and some she just seems to not like at all!).

 

 

Now, like I posted before, I'm definitely NOT advocating that a child needs to be in a large group of peers on a daily basis! Honestly, that seems a bit overwhelming in a number of ways (even though we are going to be sending DD to preschool soon it will be in small classrooms). Also whenever I've joined a playgroup having a total of about 4 moms+kids seems plenty otherwise it gets pretty overwhelming for me too! However, what's normally the easiest (at least for me) is just meeting up with one other mom at a time and her kid(s).

 

 

FWIW, at this age I just have never, ever seen anything remotely like peer pressure. Toddlers are pretty self-absorbed and no matter how much a friend might want them to do something they normally do what they want first. winky.gif I was reading Montessori: The science of Genius and one thing that I found interesting is that they noticed that in the 3-6 year old classrooms kids tend to work much more individually whereas it isn't until the 6-9 year classroom that kids start splitting off into groups so basically at younger ages kids still are working at the ego level (obviously, this varies with each individual child) but I still found that interesting, so I really think that for an 18 month old you're not going to have to worry about this...

 

Besides, it's not like you have to hang out with a mother/child(ren) pair that you don't agree with. Find like-minded friends and your conversation will probably be more enjoyable in the long run anyways. Just like any other sort of friendship your child and you are going to click more with certain people than others. Anyways, good luck!

Quote:
I have to agree. After reading all the responses and giving the matter a great deal of thought, I realized that regular exposure to the same couple of kids was something that, admittedly, I had not even considered. Thus far, I'd been operating off the idea that at this age, she is pretty much as blank slate. She has not yet developed self-knowledge: who she is, what she wants and what she's capable of. I wanted her to grow up knowing herself well enough that she does not need the groups (or even her friends) approval to maintain her self-confidence. I felt that, at this age, throwing her into a large group of her peers daily she would, even this young, be faced with peer pressure and not having a strong sense of self, be easily molded into thinking that what the group does and how it acts is how she should be and act. (I've read alot of John Holt recently) and built up a worst case scenario in my head. Basically, I scared myself. Not the wisest thing to do when you're a parent
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Old 02-08-2011, 12:05 PM
 
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I am a first time mom who feels extremely guilty about not putting my child in daycare. He is now 2, and I feel that had I put him there a bit earlier, he would have better social skills. While I am greatful to be able to stay at home with my little Micah, I just feel that being around children a little more would be better for him. I am going to take the many suggestions and start having playdates. I see so many children who are in daycare who are much more advanced in both social and speech skills than my son, and it is at times unsettling.  Is this really something that I should feel guilty about?

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Old 02-08-2011, 12:26 PM
 
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Latonya, it's not uncommon for daycare kids (and younger siblings) to be more advanced than kids who stay at home or oldest children, but time after time, studies have shown things eventually even out in grade school. It's not that those kids are necessarily smarter, it's just exposure/experience. 

 

My personal anecdote, DD went to daycare from the time she was 2 1/2 - 4 1/2. At that time I went on maternity leave to have DS so I kept her home with me. We went to library story time, read tons of books, and had playdates weekly. When she started kindegarten at was behind many kids, but now, 6 months later she has surpassed nearly her entire classroom in reading and writing. :)

 

So I don't think preschool is at ALL necessary, unless the alternative is cartoons all day (or similar, non-stimulating enviro).


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Old 02-08-2011, 01:21 PM
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while some daycare kids might know their alphabets better or animal sounds or whatnot.....i've found from working at one (like i said, a very very good one) that alot of the kids are way behind socially and emotionally. it really depends on the kid, how sensitive they are, and if they feel valued. kids seem to know if they are there because the family needs them to be there to survive or if they are seen as more of an inconvenience. i had a kid in my class this year that was amazing skillwise, way advanced and very mature with those types of things but socially and emotionally was a wreck...pacifier addict, tantrums, clinging and whining, desperate for attention. very cool little girl but so so behind emotionally...and had been in full-time care (even on parents' days off) since 6 weeks. it was actually very tough emotionally having a class of kids this year that had been full-time year-round plus before care and aftercare since tiny babies. 


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Old 02-09-2011, 01:34 PM
 
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This was my experience with my ds. He was very reserved/shy and seemed to have a lot of anxiety around social situation. Unfortunately I had to go back to work when he was 18 months old. Initially he was in an in home setting with a SAHM and her two boys. But when he was 2 yrs  we moved him to a daycare setting. He really didn't interact with many of the kids, just played along side them for almost the whole year. When he entered the 3 yr old class it was a HUGE difference. It still took him awhile to settle in but he really took off socially. He is still socially quiet and takes time to warm to people, but handles social/public situations so much better now as a 5.5 yr old.

 

I think 18 month is a little young for a preschool set up and would probably benefit just as well from some play dates. I'm looking at finding some playgroups in the next few months for my ds2 (only 14 months now) because he is such a little social butterfly and seems so interested in people (very different from his brother).

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Originally Posted by ellemenope View Post

Bumping up for some answers for you,

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by mckittre View Post

A sort of related question I'll throw in that I've been wondering about with my almost-2-year-old.  What if they don't really like other kids?  Do they eventually get over that?  We spend time with other toddlers (and some babies and older kids too), because I think it's good for him, and the parents are my friends as well.  But he'd much rather play with their toys without having to deal with having other children around.  His favorite social situations are all-adult parties with some new toys around (like when a grandparent has some around for occasionally visiting grandkids).  I'd love to childcare swap with some of my friends, but my kid doesn't liked being watched by others, and having other kids around only increases the stress of mom or dad being gone. 


I don't know.  I do know that if something really stresses out my DD we avoid it, and I am SURE he will outgrow it.  Also, I have found that four year olds make great playmates for my two year old.  IME 2 year olds do not mix well at all.  They should be sprinkled lightly amongst other age groups.  Volatile substances they are.  JMO.
 



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Old 02-09-2011, 03:56 PM
 
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Play dates are so important for our family. My 15 month old son loves seeing his friends and making new ones. He has also benefitted from twice a week at a very small daycare (4 boys) with kids his age. We started that after his first birthday. It seems isolating to me to keep him alone with us all day everyday. That being said my DH and I are both social people. We are also introverted people so our down time is also precious. Teaching children to adapt to your lifestyle is advise I took to heart when I was pregnant with him. We play, we socialize, we have alone time, we have family time, and we have time apart. All these things are important for our family.

My mother loves to tell me how she did things, especially when it is different from how I do it, but you know what thats okay too. When it irritates me I let off steam about it, then just try to be grateful for all she has given me as a child. I am glad I have set up boundaries with her, but have also allowed her in so she can have a strong relationship with her grandson.

I wish these things were more straight forward, but really it is a personal decision. You may want to tell your inlaws that. They will respect you for it in the long run. Or they will be afraid of you, but either way you may get some peace from their opinions.


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Old 02-09-2011, 04:45 PM
 
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Quote:
Quote:

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At some point your child will have to interact with the world in meaningful ways, and wouldn't you want to help your child (shy or outgoing, comfortable or anxious) navigate how they interact and build relationships from as young an age as possible?

 

I think there are amazing benefits to being able to be a SAHM and provide that safe, rich enviro for your young'un to develop in.  But why wouldn't you also want to create opportunities for your young'un to regularly be exposed to the same kid or kids and let both your toddler and you learn who your child is and where you may want to nurture them further or focus some of your parenting energy based on what you see as their strengths and their challenges?

I have to agree. After reading all the responses and giving the matter a great deal of thought, I realized that regular exposure to the same couple of kids was something that, admittedly, I had not even considered. Thus far, I'd been operating off the idea that at this age, she is pretty much as blank slate. She has not yet developed self-knowledge: who she is, what she wants and what she's capable of. I wanted her to grow up knowing herself well enough that she does not need the groups (or even her friends) approval to maintain her self-confidence. I felt that, at this age, throwing her into a large group of her peers daily she would, even this young, be faced with peer pressure and not having a strong sense of self, be easily molded into thinking that what the group does and how it acts is how she should be and act. (I've read alot of John Holt recently) and built up a worst case scenario in my head. Basically, I scared myself. Not the wisest thing to do when you're a parent!
 

 



 


I'm really glad that resonates with you.  I think you might also find something else very interesting: I work in child welfare and so work with a lot of child development specialists and child psychologists.  There's a piece of info I heard time and time again before becoming a mom that I took seriously to heart and I'm so glad I did: You know, every single age and stage is of course important in child development and shaping who they become.  But over and over I've heard experts say that if you HAD to narrow down to one single window that is MORE influential on who your child will be and how they will be than any other window, it's age 0-2 yrs old.  From all points of view: nutrition, socialization, education, behavior boundary setting... even if 2 even seems to young for some of those, those 1st 2 years lay the groundwork for how the rest of their development will go.

 

Again, that's not to say you can't have positive (and negative, unfortunately) influences on a child at every other stage, because you can.  But if you had to pick 2 yrs that matter most, it's 0-2.

 

I really think a lot of families see babies as these sweet, cute little things (or crying, screaming little things), but either way they think that nothing they do or say around them really matters much until they can talk.  SO not true.  Not only are they not blank slates, but you want to sow the seeds for everything that is important to you in these years, even though there's still MUCH work to do with them every year after that as well.

 

Just something I thought you might find interesting.  Good luck with the playdates, let us know how they go!
 

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Old 02-09-2011, 07:08 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by seasiren View Post

Play dates are so important for our family. My 15 month old son loves seeing his friends and making new ones. He has also benefitted from twice a week at a very small daycare (4 boys) with kids his age. We started that after his first birthday. It seems isolating to me to keep him alone with us all day everyday. That being said my DH and I are both social people. We are also introverted people so our down time is also precious. Teaching children to adapt to your lifestyle is advise I took to heart when I was pregnant with him. We play, we socialize, we have alone time, we have family time, and we have time apart. All these things are important for our family.

My mother loves to tell me how she did things, especially when it is different from how I do it, but you know what thats okay too. When it irritates me I let off steam about it, then just try to be grateful for all she has given me as a child. I am glad I have set up boundaries with her, but have also allowed her in so she can have a strong relationship with her grandson.

I wish these things were more straight forward, but really it is a personal decision. You may want to tell your inlaws that. They will respect you for it in the long run. Or they will be afraid of you, but either way you may get some peace from their opinions.


this really resonates....especially the part about teaching children to adapt to your lifestyle. i also really like this way to look at teh advice others' give us. well said.


Reluctant 'Sconie, chassid and mama to sweet toughie Ada Bluma 9/9/09 and loving pittie-mix ("Judge the deed, not the breed!")
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Old 02-09-2011, 09:34 PM
 
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 Okay, LROM, you are scaring me. At two, my son can sometimes be a little terror and I don't want to think that this is going to be his attitude! lol. But, of course, I understand what you are saying as well. My son was almost 4 months preemie, and while I do think that his social skills are a little behind, the Dr's also state that he is chronologically only 20 months old. I have set up a play date for Saturday, and hope all goes well. As a new mom, sometimes you think the best thing is to have the child around you and teach him, but I am realizing that he really needs to be around more kids his age. I notice that when he sees kids his age, he gets really excited and wants to hug and play with them immediately. That makes me feel terrible! I went to the library today for story time and he absolutely loved it. Hopefully, this will help him.

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Old 03-31-2012, 09:51 PM
 
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Thank you for this thead!

 

I had to revive this mainly because my sister who is all of 26, thinks I need to do a better job "socializing" my 2yo. I explain to her... kiddos this age play in parallel rather then *with* other kids. I have a theory about it, actually. My nephew, who is a year older, is much more "social" then my daughter. I think it's her personality, she's just shy and a bit timid. There is nothing wrong with that. My nephew? He scopes out kids to play with. He's a flirt. He's just that way! My sister lives in a TINY community and never has play dates. She can barely make it to the park, it's about a 30min drive down a mountain road. It's beautiful but very remote. Me? I'm in a large metropolitan area, take DD to Storytime and have been since she was 4 months old. I have even had a few play dates! My DD is usually glued to my site... the entire time. Who should be more "social" in that situation? If you thought "socializing" was necessary. Which I don't think even matters, personally. Just like I don't push myself into social situations unless I feel comfortable, I would never do that to my kiddo either. It feels wrong. It's such an annoying blanket statement to have people tell me I need to send DD to preschool (or, a glorified daycare, and expensive) just because she needs "socializing". Just my opinion. 

 

Can you ladies point me to any studies/articles online I can send to sister or anyone else, for that matter, that has an opinion about this? TIA!


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Old 03-31-2012, 10:29 PM
 
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http://www.parentingscience.com/preschool-stress.html

 

Tilly, that is a link to an AP anthropologist who looks at some of the data about preschool in relation to social skills.  The short version is that, while kids who have been in preschool tend to be a little ahead academically (or at least low income kids get a boost, its unclear what the effect is on middle and upper income kids), kids in preschool also tend to be behind socially.  They tend to have worse social skills and less effective coping mechanisms.  So all the talk about needing preschool to learn social skill is total bunk. 

 

Here's a quote:

“We find that attendance in preschool centers, even for short periods of time each week, hinders the rate at which young children develop social skills and display the motivation to engage classroom tasks, as reported by their kindergarten teachers” (Loeb et al 2005).

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