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Marching To A Different Drummer

810 Views 5 Replies 6 Participants Last post by  meg
Max hasn't had a whole lot of interaction with other kids his age until recently. I have been a SAHM for almost two years, so he never went to daycare. I just started working parttime, so he has a sitter one day a week who has a daughter who is 2-1/2. I can already see a difference in Max... he is learning so much from playing with her.

I signed him up for a toddler's music class and today was our second class. All of the kids are around 2-3 years old. All of the other kids follow along with the instructor, and sing, dance, gesture, etc. Max, however, wants to spin in circles in the center of the music circle, or run around the outside of the circle, or he wants to go explore and see what's in the back room, or check out the teacher's instruments. He is the only one who would rather explore and do his own thing than be part of the group. I can't seem to get him to take an interest in following along with the rest of the class. Do you think this is because he's just not used to other kids? Shouldn't he be able to listen to the instructor (or me) and follow directions at his age? I don't understand him... he seems to just have a short attention span or something. He is fine if left to play on his own, but is almost disruptive when he is supposed to be interacting as a group participant. Any advice? Anyone with a kid like Max out there? Am I alone?
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There was a thread earlier this month about toddler behaviour in dance and music classes. You should look for it. It will reassure you!

I have a September 2001 baby and she would be just like your son in the same situation. In fact, we were told not to return after a one-hour trial dance class. Needless to say, we will not be attempting any other classes any time soon.

P.S. Not to say that you should withdraw from your class. If your teacher is okay with it and you're okay with it, I say go for it. If however everyone's looking at you like you're some kind of parenting freak, then I'd suggest waiting.
I wouldn't worry about it at all. My DD is 20mo and we go to a gymboree music class. You should see the place! The first couple classes were chaotic. By the third class, some of the children were settling down and following directions but not all. We're on our 5th class and still lots of the children are much more interested in doing other things. My DD does this too. Sometimes she'll participate but the majority of the time she's running around and looking at everything. That place must be so interesting to children! All those new sights and sounds, bright colors, new people. It's not surprising that it's hard to concentrate. I really, really wouldn't worry. Any teacher worth a lick will know that this is completely normal toddler behavior and it won't bother her a bit. You and the teacher should try to redirect back to the task on hand but if he's more interested in something else, that's ok too. He'll still get the benefit of the interaction with other children and hearing the music and the stimulation that comes with being in a new environment. I say relax and enjoy
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Im a huge believer in unstructured play (as learning) for toddlers and young children. They need lots of space to explore and learn on their own, in their own way, and in their own time. IMHO, this is what makes learning fun and meaningful. There is plenty of time for structured learning later if you so choose, and perhaps there are many youngins' who already enjoy this method, but for those who don't, they are no more or no less normal than there happy to enjoy structure counterparts. I have to say in all honesty, that it would strike me as odd to have a group of toddlers all 'dancing to the beat of the same drum' in a class setting. I've never seen it happen and I'm with groups of toddlers regularly.

We are enrolled in a "playschool." DS started at 15 months and is now 2 and 8 months. Somedays he enjoys the music circle and structured play (storytime, art), and somedays he wants to do his own thing--playing with a certain toy or set of toys and doesn't want to be diverted. Who am I to thwart the roots of focus and attention span?!
Luckily, this is happily accepted at playschool as the atmosphere is open, flexible and lively.

Playschool and regular outtings have given DS lots of opportunities to be around other kids, and still he does his own thing when it suits him. I've observed the same in other toddlers and it's all good...

In a word you DS sounds quite, well... lovely.
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My ds (29 months) also prefers to run around the couch area rather than participate in many of the group activities (unless props are involved!) at our music class. He's not disruptive, but I sometimes feel silly that I'm sitting in the circle singing the song, and he's standing behind the couches.

But what I like about this class is that this is okay, some other kids do it sometimes too, and the teacher is really encouraging of letting them participate when they want and not bugging them when they want to do their own thing. It is neat to see the things that ds picks to do.
I have a Max, too. Literally.
Our Maxs sound sooo much alike! I also posted to the thread mentioned above and found it to be reassuring.
I was sort of stunned when I took my Max to storytime at the library and he was the only kid who would not sit quietly and participate.
I decided that I was just silly for bringing him there and the only reason other kids like him (very high energy, inquisitive and active) weren't there is because their parents are wiser than me and just take theirs to the park.
We haven't been back to storytime because I felt he was being disruptive and didn't think he was getting anything out of it, either. Plus it made my blood pressure go up. Now when I feel the urge to let him socialize I set him free on the playground and I am much more relaxed and he is happy, too.
I think the title of your thread sort of says it all, you know? We should just try to celebrate that our kids do march to their own beat. It may make our job a little tougher but they are such interesting little people!
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