At what age do kids start to benefit from social interaction with other kids? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 11 Old 02-07-2003, 02:36 AM - Thread Starter
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if you read my childcare thread, then you know why i'm asking. ds is 10 months old and he really hasn't been around other kids at all since birth. in my understanding, most of the research has shown that they don't need the social interaction until they're about 3 years old. however, i don't want him to grow up to be an outcast either. what do you think?
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#2 of 11 Old 02-07-2003, 04:03 AM
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My kids started enjoying having some interaction right around that age. At least, they were absolutely fascinated with other babies and children.

Of course, that doesn't mean that you have to enroll them in preschool or anything...that would be waaay overboard. Their need for that kind of stimulation can be easily satisfied just by letting them watch little kids play for a while every day (down at the park or something) and by playing with friends' kids. They don't even have to be near the same age to get a lot out of it. My kids really enjoyed the church nursery at that age (yes, they really did, they didn't cry when we got there but got all excited, it was soooo cute) and I think that this really satisfied that curiosity for them.

Interaction comes in many forms; remember that. Staring at each other across a sandbox is the same whether it is done at the neighborhood park or in a daycare.

I don't think he'll be an outcast if you don't institutionalize him right away. That is one of those American Myths. I mean, what, is he going to become some kind of basket case? Are the kids he goes to kindergarden with all going to know and not talk to him? Of course not!

So, that's what I think :-)

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#3 of 11 Old 02-07-2003, 09:30 AM
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My Dd turned 2 in Oct. She has only been around her 2 older brothers, (12yr & 14 yr) & baby bro. 8 mos. & a couple of neighbbor kids that are friends of the older bros. She is also really reserved & shy around new situations & people. Recently we met a friend of mine & her daughter (2 yrs) a couple of days in a row. The first day all the girls did was sit & stared at each other. (They did share a little bit of chocolate) The second day they started out sitting & staring but ended up chasing each other all over the place!

We also recently enrolled her in a parent & tots gymnastics class (based on her interests) once a week. The way I see it if she wants to make friends she will, if not that's okay too. She'll let me know what she needs if I provide opportunities & listen to her.
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#4 of 11 Old 02-07-2003, 02:11 PM
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I've been surprised at what a young age my dd really enjoyed other kids. When she was about five months old, I took a day off work and took her to story time at the library, which has a special story time for babies 12 months and younger. She laughed more than I had ever heard. When I took her back a few weeks later, the librarian remembered her name, saying "she's the one who laughs at all the other babies!" My dh stays home with her during the day, so he takes her almost every week now and she loves it.
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#5 of 11 Old 02-07-2003, 06:38 PM
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My dd didn't really start to play WITH other kids until she was 3 1/2 or so, but she had a lot of social interaction anyway, through classes like Gymboree and Music Together. I think it is good for them to be around other kidsat least once a week, just so you can begin to plant the seeds of sharing, taking turns, empathy for others, etc. But this can be accomplished with siblings, or cousins, or the neighbor's kids.

Some kids start being social at much earlier ages than others. Last year when my dd was in preschool at age 3, she still played alone or with the teachers most of the time, while a lot of the other kids seemed to interact with each other. This year, age 4, however, her friends are very important to her!
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#6 of 11 Old 02-07-2003, 10:56 PM
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We started going to the library's Lap Sit program when dd was 4 mos. old. She enjoyed the stimulation but I don't think she got much out of the other babies/toddlers until much later. *I* enjoyed getting together with other moms though!

She's now 2 and has a best friend who's 2 mos. younger than her. They get along great and she asks for him by name when they are not together. She also has an older friend, age 3, and a couple younger friends who are around 18 mos. old. She interacts differently with each of them, depending on their ages and personalities. It's neat to see her adjust her behavior according to the social situation even at the young age of 26 mos. They seem to get a pecking order going. In some situations she's a bit aggressive, and in other situations she's submissive.

While I think it's important to try to get your child together with other kids, the best social interaction you can give your child is with his/her own family members. Only then will the child be confident enough to make friends of their own age.

I've also noticed that my dd will only be able to play with one other child at a time even in a larger group setting. So it's probably not that important yet to get the group thing going, as much as just one or two friends at a time.


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#7 of 11 Old 02-08-2003, 12:12 AM
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My dd has one "best friend" a few months older than her, who she loves -- they have been playing together for about a year, but only recently started playing with each other (talking, pretending, tickling, sharing food.) Up until about 4 months ago, they were happy to see each other, but then would do parallel play with some toy showing-off and trades.

My dd is VERY social, and is now in a class/ playgroup for 2-year-olds (think Gymboree, but cheaper and offered by park district). She will go right up to another kid and sit down next to them, look interested in what they're doing, etc., but the kids tend to grab their toys possessively and back away. : She's getting good at getting their attention with games, though -- chase, play kitchen, etc. I think it's been really important for her to have these socialization opportunities for the last 4 to 6 months especially, but going back to when she was about a year old.
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#8 of 11 Old 02-08-2003, 12:45 AM
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Our son is 11 months tomorrow and we have him in a library reading for babies every friday morning. He seems to love the other children and all the singing and dancing in my arms.
Yes, i think that it is a good time to start them in small groups, with their moms.
Why not???

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#9 of 11 Old 02-08-2003, 01:28 AM
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My 2.5 year old is incredibly loving and social and thrives in the company of other children-- the more playmates at once, the better. (He is an only child, at least for now.) He has been in home child care since he was 4.5 months old, and I have to say, I attribute a lot of his wonderfully social behaviors to the child care setting. He was the only "baby" until he was 22 months old, and the other kids ranged in age from about 8 months older than he to 12 years old! He learned so much about how to treat others, about empathy, about patience...It helps that they're all wonderful kids who model the kinds of interactions I'd want ds to take part in. It's really hard to say what he might've been like otherwise, but I love who he is, and I credit lots of early socialization in part. So, I'd say, they can benefit right away!
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#10 of 11 Old 02-08-2003, 07:55 PM
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I waited until my ds was a year before we started doing organized group activities. I hesitated only because I didn't want him to get colds and whatnots less than a year. I now think I was overly concerned especially since he was bf and frankly is still bf now. I also think I was a bit exhausted during the first year and that was in the mix...but now if I could do it over I might have started going to the park a bit earlier. maybe 9 months. I don't know why I say that...but I do.
By the way, we certainly made up for time because we now go to a mommy and me class, yoga for toddlers, music together...we go to the park all the time plus story areas at a local bookstore.
Sometimes I feel like he is on a cruise ship and I'm the cruise director. But I just like him to get out of the house in the morning and the late afteroon. He is a very active boy. Adn by the way, he is picky. There are some kids he instantly 'take's to and the rest he just kind of blows off. I don't think it is personal, I just think it is the age.

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#11 of 11 Old 02-08-2003, 10:56 PM
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I would say that children can benefit from social interaction with others of all ages from birth. Whether it is necc. to socialise your infant/toddler with other infant/toddlers I don't think it is really needed in order for the child to grow up normal, ie not a social outcast.
An infant/toddler can get that same healthy social interaction with others of any age, they can play with other older and younger children and adults of all ages.
My youngest is three, she does not need to have classes or regular playdates in order to learn to play & interact with others and her natural friendships are with a wide group of people. The same goes with my oldest who is 14, his friends range in age from 3 to 80. To me that is normal.
IMVHO A group of 1-2 yrs olds in a directed play setting seems unnatural and unneeded.
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