WWYD toddler class dilemma - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 8 Old 09-15-2012, 10:21 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I would just like some input from you other Mammas to help me figure out if this class we signed up for is "worth it" or not.  Here's the deal:

 

I signed my almost 2 year old up for a gymnastics class, it's a group class of other kids around the same age up to 30 months or so. It's a "me and my shadow" class, so the parents are involved.  Many of the kids in the class have older siblings that have taken the class before, and "get it".  My son and a couple others are totally not into the routine.  I signed him up in the hopes that he would gain exposure to more organized play, and start to become more comfortable with other kids/adults.  I am also trying to gauge how we would do in a daycare/preschool type setting. 

 

Anyway, DS loves to play on all of the equipment on his own terms.  He has no interest in the circle activities, and he is out right petrified of some of the instructors...he will just try to melt into the floor or cry and hug me until they go away.  (The instructors are great though, and don't force the situation). 

 

Is this environment something that he will get used to?  Or is he really just too young? Is he getting anything out of this? I'm torn about pulling him out and sticking with it.  If he didn't like playing on the stuff so much, it would be a no brainer, but I guess I feel like once he gets more accustomed to the environment he will do a bit better.  Unfortunately we can't use the gym unless we are enrolled in a class, and this will be some of the only/best ways to get out energy as the weather gets cold.  I knew there would be an adjustment period, I just thought it would be better than this.  (We had swim lessons over the summer and he did good with that, but it was a much smaller group).

 

I also want to note that these classes are more of a way for us to get out of the house and have some social interaction; I'm not really hell bent on him learning gymnastics or anything...but I do feel a little weird being "that mom", although I'm not the only one, the other kids aren't scared of the instructors and do participate at least a little bit.  DS does seem to like being around the other kids, it's just the adults that freak him out...and being a parent/child class, plus several instructors there are quite a few adults....I guess the main crux of the issue is that DS is super shy...is this experience helping him to gain trust or is it making it worse? No one there is forcing him to interact, they want his participation to be his choice. 

 

So, what would you do? Anyone BTDT an have advice?


     Mommy to DS born 11-10-10  wave.gifAnd DD born 6-3-13 baby.gif  

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#2 of 8 Old 09-15-2012, 11:48 AM
 
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We did a 4-week trial and had a similar experience with gymnastics at that age.  Same with yoga class, same with music class.  DS likes to observe classes, but he doesn't participate in them very much.  We just started the music class, so I'm hoping it will get better with time.  He sits and just soaks it all in.  With gymnastics he just wanted to play on the equipment, too.

 

If you can give it a few more weeks, that might help his anxiety level.  The extra access to the gym is probably worth it if he likes to play there.  But gymnastics does get expensive, and I understand the frustration of having your child not go along with the activities.  

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#3 of 8 Old 09-15-2012, 06:07 PM
 
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We just started gymnastics for the first time today with our DD who is 17mo.  There's 5 or 6 kids in the class.  Most of the kids are in the 12mo-18mo range with the exception of one who is 2 (and I'd say not early into the age of 2...likely closer to 2.5 or 3).

 

None of the kids with the exception of the 2 year old were able to follow the instructions.  They couldn't jump or walk along the beam or perform a sequence of activities.  They were having a fantastic time running all over playing with the various equipment.  In part, they could sorta do what the instructor asked with lots of parental assistance, but there was no way you could ask a toddler to stand still in line and wait their turn.  So we just went with it.  Our DD had so much fun with the equipment and running all over the place.

 

Now, our DD is also incredibly shy in new situations.  She's a human fungus.  For the first 15 minutes she wouldn't leave my arms.  We did all of the activities to show her how much fun it was, but she did them in our arms.  She'd start to cry every time I set her down.  None of the other kids had that issue.

 

She eventually warmed up enough to stand on her own feet and then was running around playing on the equipment.  She was happy playing with her Mama but had zero interest in the other kids, parents or instructor.  I think that's par for the course.

 

It takes a while for our baby to warm up to new situations.  She doesn't warm up to strangers.  And even people that she sees infrequently, it will take her a day or more to go to them.  We just let her work on her own schedule.  We find that pushing her towards people or new things makes it harder for her.  She has the opposite reaction and becomes more fearful.  Our DD has to want to explore and get comfortable at her own pace, and as a toddler, she's pretty independently minded and strong willed so we have to work with that.

 

FWIW, I don't know how long you've been doing the gymnastics thing, but I'd keep at it.  He needs time to become comfortable.  And he needs to become comfortable on his own terms.
 


DW and I are moms to two teens (DD 17 and DS 15) adopted through CAS in 2007 and a toddler (DD 2) born at home in March 2011.

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#4 of 8 Old 09-15-2012, 06:16 PM
 
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I always have similar experiences with mine and gymnastic classes as well. They just want to run around in the gym. Our gym has "open gym" a couple times a week where toddlers and preschoolers with a parents can play in the equipment how ever they want to. I tend to just do that until they are over 3 and more likely to follow instructions. 

 

 

Anyway, very normal behavior and it does get better with age. 


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#5 of 8 Old 09-15-2012, 06:41 PM
 
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yes i've BTDT. my advice would be to find all the FREE stuff for your kid to run and climb on and take ample advantage of that. the free stuff is out there (parks, libraries, special events, etc. etc.) look for it.

 

save your money for classes he can take when he's closer to 3 or so. he will get much more out of it then.

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#6 of 8 Old 09-16-2012, 11:02 AM
 
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Sounds like he's not into it. Yes, into the equipment and climbing around as any toddler would be, but not the structure. I don't think it's fair to force structure on a young child if they are not into it and it isn't some sort of necessity (like daycare if you have to work).

How many times have you been? Maybe go twice more...I myself would maybe go a total of three times and if this kept happening just find something else. Depending on where you are, there are usually other ways to get tumble-time indoors and be around other kids and parents.

Good luck!
 


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#7 of 8 Old 09-17-2012, 10:37 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for all of the insight!

 

I think that I am going to give it a shot one more time and see how things go.  I think that since the instructors are fine with him not participating that it's worth it for him to have the exposure to the more structured play, even if it's just watching.  I think I need to try to keep myself out of the comparison game too :)  If he really doesn't like it, or if the instructors change their tune, we will probably just drop it.  This is kind of for my sanity as well...if we aren't signed up for a class, I won't consistently do things.  And I think that if this is going to work out for DS, it would need to be something consistent so that he knows what to expect. 
 


     Mommy to DS born 11-10-10  wave.gifAnd DD born 6-3-13 baby.gif  

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#8 of 8 Old 09-27-2012, 10:16 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I just wanted to update for anyone else searching the threads in a similar situation. 
 

We went to the last class, and DS did a lot better than he had in previous weeks.  He did participate for part of the circle time, and he tried doing some of the exercises that I wasn't even sure that he saw the week before.  He still didn't participate much in the rest of the class, so at the end I talked to the lead instructor, and she assured me that it was totally fine that he wasn't "participating", that she was seeing him progress each week, and that it was good that I wasn't forcing him, and not to feel as though I should. 

 

We have been taking him to the open gym time too (which we need to be enrolled in a class to attend) and he is starting to warm up to a couple of the instructors.  And when I ask if he wants to go, he says yes. 

 

I agree with everyone that forcing the structure on him wouldn't be good, but since we are planning on having him in public school, and he is pretty slow to warm up, that the exposure is going to be beneficial.  By the time that he is old enough to go to preschool he will hopefully be a lot more comfortable with the routine.  This way the transition will be niiiiice and slow. 


     Mommy to DS born 11-10-10  wave.gifAnd DD born 6-3-13 baby.gif  

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