My son is extremely shy and is very slow to warm to people and other kids. I am a SAHM and have never had a sitter, other than hubby.
I am debating whether I should enroll my son in a 1/2 day daycare maybe once or twice per week or just continue doing mommy and me classes to help him socialize.
Part of me thinks why rush him when he just turned two even if he is shy and perhaps I should wait until he is 2-1/2 or even 3. He is still non verbal with sentences, though his comprehension is great. I also feel that leaving him would be quite traumatic for him, though I'm not sure waiting would make it any easier, although he would be able to talk and express himself if I wait longer.
Alternately, I could continue doing our 4 day per week mommy and me classes, and hope that my being with him will help him build his confidence and help him break out of his shyness if it's not solely an intrinsic part of his personality.
I waited too long to socialize him (15 mo old), so I think that is a major part of the issue.
I think we tend to rush independence in our society, so I also feel like why push him when he will be in preschool in another couple of years and I should be relishing all this free time with him. But...am I hampering his social development by being with him all the time even if he is around other kids in the mommy and me classes?
Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
I'm a WOH mom and my DS, who has been in full-time daycare since he was 4 months old, is slow to warm up to people/new situations. Even though he knows his teachers and classmates and loves going, he still has days when he cries and clings to me at drop-offs (he is fine after I actually leave the room). So that is to say that for my DS, being in daycare since he was an infant hasn't helped with his temperament!
Also, I wanted to mention that it might be difficult in the beginning if your DS only goes 1/2 day once or twice a week because he might take a little longer to get used to the routine of going. Part-time kids might have a harder time transitioning in because they go for longer periods between when they are at daycare (esp if they don't go consecutive days) so it's less routine for them. But a good daycare will work with you to make the transition as easy as possible for your DS. What you are doing now sounds like a great social activity that's more routine since it's 4-days a week. Whatever you decide, you can always try it out and pull back if it doesn't work out...
Mom to DS born 6/09 and DS2 born 6/12
I don't know what Mommy & Me classes are like but if they are very structured, you might try a few informal playdates with just a couple of kids. My DS really opens up a lot when we get together with just one kid he knows well, for example. I also try hard not to hover whenever he finally leaves my side for a few minutes -- so if we're at the playground, I try to keep my distance and let him negotiate the social environment (as long as he's not hurting anyone or anything!!) It's only been lately that I've been able to do that -- until recently (he's 2.25) he was just too clingy & shy, and he's still both, but he's starting to relax a bit & play with other kids sometimes which is just amazing to see. If I'm right there he will almost always turn to me for "help" with things but if I'm 50 yards away just casually keeping an eye on him, he will sometimes talk with the other kids, play around them more comfortably, etc. He's different in these relaxed, free-play environments than more structure settings (storytime etc.) He does get quit overwhelmed at times (he has sensory issues & stuff) so I mentally tune in to him from a distance and help him out when he needs a break or physical space from other kids.
Both my girls have been slow to warm up. We went to storytime at the library weekly for years before DD1 would even speak to the lady that ran it! They eventually in their own time, very gladly separated from me to do things. DD1 is 8 now and you would never know that she never went to preschool or even K, she is a little social butterfly. The kind of kid that is friends with everyone. DD2 is 4.5 and just started preschool 2 days a week again, we tried right when she was turning 4 and she wasn't ready yet. Just a few months can make a big difference. I wouldn't push it at this age unless there is a need for it, you needing to work, etc... Otherwise, more then likely when he is older, it will no longer be an issue.
I wouldn't rush it, if you are really concerned. I agree... we tend to rush too much! But I do think socialization is a good thing. He may be shy to warm up only because he hasn't had the opportunities without you right next to him. I don't think you're hampering his development by being there all the time, but who knows what he would actually be like without you around? I started DS at 1/2 days, three times a week, at 15 months, just for the socialization factor. It wasn't easy the first two weeks, the drop-offs. And now at 21mos, going 1/2 days every day, he still has his moments not wanting to be dropped off. But there are times he doesn't want to Leave daycare either.
I think finding the right place is a big one too. I found a great daycare that is super-interactive. He comes home with green paint under his toenails (the only lingering paint letting me know they've been painting). And at the art-show last week, the room was filled with pictures of him immersed in painting and other craft projects. His teachers say that he Shines at artistic projects, which I don't really see too much of that at home. He's interested at home, but at Day Care, he apparently is All About the activities they do. I think it's been an incredibly rewarding experience for him - especially as an only child, just to learn some simple rules of sharing, and that when you put something down, it might not be there when you get back.
You can always try it. Give it two weeks though - cause the first few days will be difficult for both you and him. If after two weeks it doesn't seem like a good thing, stop. :-)
single, WAH mom, to my only very kind & sweet lil man
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Jack is 2.5 and he has never even stayed in our church nursery. NO WAY he would have at 15 months it would have been just cruel to him. He will be 2yrs 10 month when he starts montessori pre primary in aug for 2 mornings a week. We also did a little gym class this past yr and did story time at our liberary. I would not put him in daycare just for socialization at this point. You have plenty of time. Dont stress it.
I think maybe adding some playdates at a playground where he can see you and learn that he is able to go off and play and still know you are there is a great idea.
My DD1 will still act shy sometimes and not want to talk to adults if I'm right next to her! But if I'm farther away or not there at all she is confident and speaks up.
Do you have any mama friends with kids close to his age?
DD is almost 2 and terrified of other kids in larger settings like mommy and me classes, so I have been setting up play dates where it is only her and 1 other child her age, she is doing much better!
Yesterday we went to the park and she did great with her friend and was tolerable of other children that would come near her, which for us is a huge improvement. (some perspective of our shyness - a couple of months ago a smaller child walked up to her and said "hi" and she burst into tears and wouldn't play anymore)
Working, freshly graduated! mama. Loving life with DH , DD 7/09, and DS 06/11 .
Oh, 2yo is so young, still a baby in many ways. I see no reason to push the socialization. Mommy & me sounds ideal, he gets to be around other kids, and you're right nearby. So much growth happens at 2/3/4, with language, independence, playing WITH kids, etc..... in time for preschool if that's what you want then. Enjoy him, let him enjoy you! This said from a mom of a 4yo in some preschool and 6yo in Kindergarten, looking back at that precious time. The 4yo would probably choose to stay home with me all the time even now, he's that type of kid, but once he's at school he does have fun. But at 2 years old, why push it!
I think socialization is majorly overrated in the 0-3 age group. Attachment is the primary need at this age (and that opinion comes from a child psych background, not an AP background which I chose much later). I would continue to do the mommy and me type of stuff where both needs can be met...socialization and feeling secure that mom is there. Your son will not suffer one bit from not starting daycare at age 2.
ITA with APtoddlermama, I really don't think you can hamper your LO's social abilities by being there for him and following his needs. You seem to have answered your own question through your post, ya know?
TBH if you are well suited to being home with him you should definitely stay home with him. The Mommy and me classes could be good socialization for you, too though, so I would go that route. If you feel togetherness is driving one or both of you batty and you might benefit from some limited time apart, try it. If you believe it would traumatize him than definitely don't. In some cultures kids don't leave the family unit for outside socialization until they are 6 or 7 years old...granted they are not societies that typically value the gregariousness and over the top precociousness that is pushed so frequently in US culture, but they nevertheless wind up as healthy, confident, successful adults.
FWIW, DS went to pre-school three days a week at 15 mo and onwards and he is still a little bit of an oddball, so I am not sure it makes that big a difference. :p
I was entertaining the option just for social development for DS and not because I have to because of a job, etc. My gut instinct is to just continue finding classes to enjoy WITH him and holding off on the separation until he is 3 or so, depending on where he's at developmentally then. It seems some of the part time daycare options I was leaning toward don't start until 2.5 or 3 anyway, so that's probably yet another signal to wait.
Still, I have never had a sitter and am still perplexed over what to do about "me" time and "hubby and me" time. I don't know other moms, despite going to all these classes. I always thought an ideal situation would be to find another mom and to take turns sitting for each other's kids. Adult socialization just never seems to happen at these classes though because everyone arrives right on time and leaves right after class and nap time is always hovering after class. Plus, I'm an older mom to boot in my 40s and hoping to find a mom friend who is also considered "advanced maternal age", which I'm finding to be tough.
That said, primarily, I was concerned about my DS's social development and shyness, but finding me time would also be icing on the cake.
Oh...never? I know some mom's here do that. I am pretty sure DH and I would have gone nuts long ago without some US time. It hasn't always been easy but we had to make a commitment to us too.
We have a sitter come (usually just at or after bedtime, so it's not too traumatic for DD) but it is the same person who comes and helps clean the house twice a week so DD knows her, in case she does wake up (which she did last saturday and no tears at all apparently) She comes once a week for our date night, sometimes she brings her son who is DS's age and they play. We have had an established date night since DS was 4 mos old. At the months old age it is usually an hour or two, enough for a quick meal alone, or maybe a snuggle at a motel...TMI? but as they get older, we move into two or three or four hours. Before DD came along when DS was 2.5 he stayed over at his sitter's house overnight with her and her family and it worked out great! They had so much fun whenever we had a wedding or just wanted to stay out a little late and be a little naughty...it was a good option. He loved them like surrogate grandparents. But it took about two years to get to where I was comfortable with that.
I have found our sitters through colleagues at work (dh's and mine), through neighbors, through mom groups, and through community centers. I always try them out while I am home first to see if the DCs are into them ot freaked out, and then transition slowly. I think couples need alone time to remain strong enough to be parents.
We also take turn giving eachother time for ourselves individually, because we need that too. We were both independent single people until our late twenties for me, mid thirties for DH before we met and had kids. It's not easy going from that to full time caregiver...well it wasn't for me. It's okay to give yourself a break if it makes you a stronger mom when you get back, ya know?
If you want to make mom friends, you can try more loosely structured things... are there any mom's groups around? Something less formal? I know what you mean, at classes everyone does tend to leave right away. If there are any moms in the class you would enjoy getting to know, though, you could ask for their phone # or email to set up a playdate. Might be a little tough to ask the first time or two if you're shy but it will be worth it if it pans out into a friendship!! I would also caution you to not limit your 'friend' options too much. My friends are all ages -- 20's, 30's, 40's -- and just because we're moms (and more AP/naturally-inclined, for the most part), we relate really well, age difference just doesn't matter much. Any friend is better than no friend, IMO, and having wide criteria for "friend material" will make it much more likely that you WILL make friends. Haha I'm sorry, I hope it doesn't sound like I'm lecturing you, I just remember my pre-friend days (not all that long ago!) being so sad & lonely, I love having friends and my friends are the best!
You can also hang out at playgrounds, libraries, etc. -- moms tend to congregate there and are more available for chit-chat...
As far as getting 'me time' -- is your DH around at all? Can he take your DS out for a couple of hours? And be creative with 'hubby & me time' -- one of my friends gets up really early so she & her DH can sneak in a coffee date in the kitchen before their kid wakes up. DH & I reconnect over long walks with DS in the Ergo... obviously DS is still there but he's so calm & content (well, for part of the walk at least!) that we can hold hands, talk, etc. like we used to. But if you are wanting to get out of the house without DS then you could also just try to find a babysitter. That's what my mom friends do -- they find a family friend or college/high school kid and do a few test runs with them in another room or short outings and once they feel comfortable with the sitter they do go on regular dates. Because so many moms do that, I think swapping childcare with another mom is probably less likely to happen (not impossible, of course, and maybe that's just in my circle!) so I wouldn't wait 'til you have friends before making time for you & DH! We have chosen not to use babysitters but it only works for us because it's a conscious decision & we still make the time for each other. And you could also look into drop-in mom's night out types of things (I guess they do this at the Y, at local kids' businesses, etc.) if you don't want to commit to anything...
Are there any playgroups or mom support groups or anything like that near you? My DD is similarly not very social, but I'm not worried. However I didn't know ANY other moms when she was little, but joined a moms club, which is focused more on adult socialization. There are moms in my club with ages ranging from late 20's to 40 or so. We do more stuff like playgroups at each others homes or stroller walks or park days, rather than structured activities, which makes it easier for moms to chat a little. I've made a couple of good mom friends this way!
My DD is still not keen on me leaving her alone at age 3, but I'm not worried. I was very shy as a child, and I was in daycare from 6wks old, preschool starting at 2.5. She'll get better. I just focus on things to keep me sane until she gets there. :-D
Just a reference: http://www.pedsforparents.com/articles/2849.shtml
Oh, and my peds who is incredible actually told me that kids get nothing from preschool pre-age 3 that they can't get from home, and that they learn best at home with a primary caregiver.
Do what you feel is best for your child in your heart, you sound like a great, thoughtful Mama.
When dd was 19 months until 2, if another kid came NEAR her she started screaming, she was so scared of other kids. I didn't have any mommy friends and we did stuff when she was younger but didn't start going to playgroups until she was 19 months. From 2 to maybey 28 months she would go and play sometimes with the kids but would mostly stick to herself or on my lap. About a month ago (she's 2 1/2) she started actually playing with the other kids! Involving roll playing and sharing. She runs off with them and doesn't want to leave when its time to go. She hugs and gives out kisses to everyone. She even went up to another mom to ask for help, something I never thought she would do. It will be okay. You don't have to have a crazy outgoing kid and honestly I never thought I did anything wrong but not having her do social things prior to 18 months. If you want to make the decision to put him in daycare that's great, but I don't think its a necessity. He will probably grow out of his shyness to some degree, and he may only be comfortable around certain people (including kids). Getting dd to talk to others who aren't who she's used to is really hard, but that's her personality, she's shy, but once she knows you is really crazy and outgoing. I don't think its anything you did, I think its just a matter of personality. Some kids are super social and some aren't.
Canadian Mama to E 6yrs and I 3 years
Someone new coming August!