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I know a lot of SAHM do play groups and such both to get out of the house and for the kids. I noticed with my DS that all the kids his age did not pay much attention to each other at all, and sort of played next to each other or on different equipment in the same room etc. (We used to do Gymboree and he was around a year old.)<br><br>
I wonder when it becomes important to socialize a child, and when it is more important to foster a secure relationship at home and with the parents etc. I spoke with another mother who did not really take her child around other kids until she was over 2, and she philosophically did not think other kids were important to her DD development until she was of an age that she actually interacted with other kids.<br><br>
I am asking this because I am curious, and also because I went back to work out of the home and no longer do kids groups. We go out as a family and go to the park and sometimes there are other kids around, but I don't really have a lot of time. Would it be better to go out of my way to sign up for one activity a week so my DS gets some kid time? He is 15 months old.<br><br>
It is really hard for me, as I am a total introvert and not overly social. I am not super comfortable in play groups situations and have not met a lot of moms who's parenting meshes with mine. I am thinking of starting DS in preschool a few mornings a week in the fall so that I don't have to be in charge of his social life. Montessori starts at 18 months and the toddler room looked like a lot of fun.<br><br>
Anyway... thoughts on socialization for toddlers?
 

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Subscribing to this thread. My son is 15 mos as well and we go to things like Kindermusik and Baby Signs class, but like you say. the babies just kind of do their own thing.
 

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As I recall from The Baby Human (mini-series about child development), kids start playing WITH each other at around 3 years. Before that they are just playing near each other.
 

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It's kind of interesting....most mainstream parents I know believe that early socialization is the key to everything. Or maybe that's because most parents I know are mainstream. But if developmentally they just don't care until a certain age I don't think it's a big deal whether or not my 1 year old has loads of playdates. At this age it seems like they are more for the moms to have other moms to talk to.
 

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Before this children do "singular play" where they tend to spread out in the room and play by themselves, sharing neither space nor toys.<br>
That which your son is doing is called parallel play, it is good because it teaches children to be around others and still have a "your/mine" space concept, they are sharing space, and otfen have the same or similar toys but do not share them..<br>
It is a precursor to group play, where they will begin to start sharing (and fighting over) toys.<br><br>
This is coming from not just an introvert, but a working on recovering agoraphobic. I hate to go anywhere, but I will for the kids. Socializing them helps to not be afraid to go out and socialize with others. Starting late is just that, starting late, then they have to go to through the steps of figuring out their own space, sharing space, and then sharing things. Older kids can learn to do it faster, but I can't guatantee they will learn it equally well.
 

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<i>Socializing them helps to not be afraid to go out and socialize with others. Starting late is just that, starting late, then they have to go to through the steps of figuring out their own space, sharing space, and then sharing things. Older kids can learn to do it faster, but I can't guatantee they will learn it equally well.</i><br><br>
Based on my own experiences with a 10.5 yo and a 2.5 yo, socializing toddlers is totally overrated! I really limit my 2.5 yo's interactions with other kids because I find toddlers to be rough and she is often hit/pushed/grabbed/toys taken and I don't want her to experience that. I part ways with other parents who think it's *normal* and kids need to get used to it as part of friendship and playing with others.<br><br>
FWIW, my 10.5 yo had limited interactions with other toddlers until 3 when she started Montessori in a very structured environment and I didn't notice that she had to *catch up* to the other kids.
 

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I think it's called "parallel play" when small toddlers play near each other but not with each other.<br><br>
IME, the people who are really hyped up on the socialization needs of babies and toddlers are usually people who feel guilty or judged about putting their childen in daycare - it's a way for them to not feel as much guilt/judgment about it because, "hey, at least the kid's getting socialization skills, right?!?"<br><br>
If you can't do it, don't let it bother you. You're too busy to be running to playdates and classes that you aren't comfortable with. Your child will not be a hermit later in life because you didn't go to Gymboree three times a week when he was a baby, you know?
 

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As others have mentioned, at this age they don't necessarily play/interact with each other. But I do believe that they watch and learn from others. Within the last few months we have started doing regular outings with others-parks, etc. I love watching the older kidlets in the group interact with each other. I also enjoy watching K 'try' to interact with the older kidlets. He does learn/observe some behaviors that I really wish he wouldn't <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/irked.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="irked">:<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/angry.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="angry"><img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/greensad.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="greensad">, but I guess that goes with the territory-and I do explain that we don't do whatever it is.<br><br><img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/img/vbsmilies/smilies/treehugger.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Treehugger">:
 

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I started taking my son to a mom/baby group when he was 2 months. I was the one that needed the socialization.<br><br>
When he was just starting to sit--you know, that huddled mass that just sort of blobs there--we went to our weekly group. He was sitting in my lap, watching the other babies. Most were a bit older and were competent sitters. They all sat up tall and independently. I sat him on the floor amongst the other babies and HE SAT UP TALL. Just like the babies he was watching.<br><br>
So they do start learning by watching other babies at a very young age.<br><br>
I don't think putting kids in daycare is the answer to all socialization issues. I have just learned about a book called, "The well adjusted child" which talks about the socialization of homeschooled kids. I've been told that one of the ideas in the books is it is better to have social time (like at the park) when mom is nearby for safety. I'm looking forward to reading the book.
 

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I encourage you to read a wonderful book called "Hold On To Your Kids - Why Parents Need to Matter More Than Peers" about how to *stay* attached to your kids as they get older.
 

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My daughter has had very little play with other children and to be honest I am glad. Everytime we go to the park they are throwing wood chips and misbehaving, and she doesn't act this way at all. She is very secure and I believe that's from her home environment. The funny thing is that she has no problem when a child of any age comes up to her. She will interact with them for a while and when she's done with them she moves on. Funny thing is that she will even attempt to tell them what to do(she's not talking much, so it's pointing to have them come there).<br>
I wouldn't stress over it. I think your influence in her life is the most important. I believe in trying to have a strong foundation in everything in life before venturing out.
 

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I hate, toddler playgroups.....<br><br>
there are always mean, controlling, aggressive kids... and the parents let the kids do it...<br><br>
also, I dont mind ds getting sick, but everytime we have gone he has come down with really nasty illnesses several days after... the kids are all sick, and the parents still bring them... I have decided not to do them anymore...
 

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I have always had my little ones in daycare - and thought it was the best way and safest environment for my children - i.e. better than being at home alone with one nanny (especially only one or two kiddos only). Now that I have four - my views have changed.<br><br>
I will leave my toddler (now 26 months old) and my infant (now 9 months old) at home with my nanny (when I go back to work in a few more months). I am not at all worried about playgroups for the the 9 month old. Socialization of the very young is very over-rated.<br><br>
I do hope to get my 26 months old into a part-time nursery program - he loves school and his friends. He goes to daycare 2 days a week now (only way to keep a daycare spot in this city) He comes home talking about his friends (i.e. I play trains with Henry etc.) He is still a parallel player to a certain extent but is just starting to play in-line with his siblings (he has a 4 year old and almost 6 year siblings). He is also very attached to his caregivers and friends at school - I think it is invaluable (not to miss the wonderful arts, outdoor playground, meal manners blah blah blah that daycare helps set up and which we follow at home.<br><br>
That being said - I think if a parent takes their kiddo to the park to play in the sandbox, group swimming lessons (with parent in the water) where they have to 'wait' their turn, the odd playgroup/music/art class (not even weekly), going to a restaurant (thus table manners, waiting for your meal, holding your crayon etc.) you will get all the benefits of 'socialization'. I don't think we have to overschedule our toddlers or any of our kiddos - just a few steps, and away you go.<br><br>
My 9 month old DOES NOTHING outside of the home specifically for him - and he is having a wonderful life laughing himself silly at his own built-in playgroup at home. He messes up trainsets, steals puzzle pieces, shrieks when a toy is taken away by the toddler - he is socializing in his own home.
 

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I think it depends on the kiddo. Mine loves being with other kids and playing. Really, asks who we can see everyday. Problem is he is one of those "mean" spirited kids that so many of you hate. It is hard to find other kids match up to his personality. Many kids are so sensitive it is not a good fit. I actually feel guilty because he doesn't get taken to play with others a lot. We might do a once a month LLL meeting, but I have to drive 1.5 hrs for that so we don't do it all the time- maybe 6 x in the past year.
 

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I am curious about this too.<br><br>
DD is only 13 mo so is obviously not playing with other children, but she sure does love to watch them. She is completely mesmerized by them.<br>
I'm not sure if that reason alone is enough to warrant putting her into daycare though.
 

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I don't think that babies <i>need</i> to be around other babies for quite a while. But even though kids don't do much besides parallel play until 2.5-3, I do think that having them around other kids prior to that couldn't hurt.<br><br>
My older son was in daycare starting at 3 months, but I didn't really see him really benefiting from being around other kids his age until about 18-20 months. At that point the concept of sharing was becoming something we talked about (not that he was always able to get it) and he was becoming more verbal. By the time he was 2, I definitely think he had fun running around with this little playmates, even if they didn't always sit and share and play in harmony. I don't think you should feel bad at 15 months that you aren't doing 100 playgroups, but I personally wouldn't be keeping my kids from interacting with their peers as they approach the 2 year mark.
 

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Dittoing and reinforcing "Hold onto Your Kids".<br><br>
Playing with a group of same-aged kids is NOT necessary at ALL.<br><br>
They may enjoy it, some more than others, and more at some ages than other ages. But it is not at ALL necessary for 'proper' social development. (And too much of the "wrong" kind of socializing can in fact be harmful)<br><br>
What IS essential for "socialization" is observation and interaction with ALL KINDS of people, of different ages and backgrounds and in different environments. Usually -- with parents/caregivers PRESENT to be their anchor, their compass, their centre point upon which they can venture out into the social world.<br><br>
And what is most important of all is their attachment to their parents and their family.<br><br>
In other words, kids don't learn social skills from other kids who don't know social skills either! They learn them from observing ADULTS. Playtime with other kids is just that -- playtime with other kids. It's fun but it's not "important".<br><br>
Toddler playgroups, I agree, are highly overrated!
 

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I'll go with "it depends on the kid."<br><br>
I have to say for my dd interaction with other kids has been WONDERFUL. I have really seen her blossom both socially and verbally from spending time with her peers and she LOVES it. Every morning she is excited to get up and take the train into town and talks almost deliriously about her "friends." She absolutely thrives in kid filled environments. She is very outgoing, high energy and extroverted, though, and obviously not every toddler is.<br><br>
I'll also mention that she engaged primarily in "parallel play" until about 18 months or so. Now at 2.5 years, she and her friends really do play TOGETHER, sometimes inventing elaborate fantasy play scenarios together, sometimes singing songs together, sometimes just chatting with each other about things they've seen or done, etc. It has also really taught her the importance of boundaries (personal space), manners (asking for a toy, and not just grabbing it away), sharing, and turn taking. Sure, all things that can be learned at home, but for dd it was with peers that she really began to understand these things. At home with the family you can get away with more <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/wink1.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="wink1"><br><br>
So in our case, interaction with peers is hugely important. It has REALLY made a positive difference in dd's life.
 

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I think that socialization all depends on the individual child. My son loves other kids period. Has ever since he was a tiny baby. He would always watch other kids and love it when they came close enough to him that he could grab at them. When he was 5 mo old me and my sister went on a family vacation together. My niece loves babies, and my son loved my niece, and they played together the entire time. My niece would climb in the play pen with him ( I never used one but my aunt wasn't sure what I needed so borrowed one from a friend. My niece being 3 wanted to put the baby in it of course, but she would climb in with him.) and play with my son. They were both pretty happy with each other the whole time. Than a few of my cousins that live near me one has a little boy that is 11 mo older than my son, and the other has a little girl that is 3 mo older than my son. The little boy really wanted nothing to do with any other kids but my son loved him, and would grab at him when he wasn't mobile, scoot toward him when he was able to scoot, and when crawling would follow him everywhere. The little girl was just as fascinated with my son as my son was with him. They would pull up to each other, and knock each other down in the process. All three play together really well now. They love to play with each other, they are now almost 3, 2 and almost 2. In January even though I didn't need to I decided to put my son into day care, because he loved kids so much. When I tell him that its time for school he gets really excited and grabs his shoes and coat. As soon as we pull up to the building he starts jumping in his car seat. When I drop him off at the school, he gives me a kiss, says bye-bye and runs to another one of the kids he plays with gives them a hug, and they start running around doing there kids stuff. He does get excited when I go and pick him up. In my sons case he not only needed, but wanted the social interaction. I would say if your child isn't at all interested in other kids they don't need interaction, but if they show intrust take them to play groups and see how they do.
 
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