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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
First off, my son is extremely bright and articulate and introverted and has a baby brother.
I have had him in gymnastics classes, music classes and swim lessons since he was a baby. All parent involved. Now he is 3.5 and the classes are no longer parent involved. I'm still there. He can see me. I'm sitting on the edge of the pool at the swim lessons. He doesn't want to go. They tried to move him up in his gymnastics class with the same teacher. He hung out and listened for the first ten minutes. Then went off to do the things he wanted to do. But he needed to stay with the teacher and follow the class. The teacher said "he just wants to do what he wants to do when he wants to do it." Well , yeah, he's three. Right? It got to the point where we would struggle vevery day to get dressed, etc and it was because he didn't want to go to gymnastics class. So I pulled im. I thought it was ridiculous to do that if he wasn't having fun. So we have tried a couple of things since and he just watches and keeps coming back to me or tries to go do the things he wants to do.
Here are my concerns:
1) I don't want to force him to do these things if he really doesn't want to.
2) I don't want to teach him to not follow through with things.
3) I'm afraid that he is a total non-conformist. How are we going to deal with school, etc?
4) Is it too soon to worry 'cause he is only 3.5?
I just don't know what to do. The latest issue is swim lessons. I was sitting on the edge of the pool and he didn't want to doit. He gradually got in and finally participated at the very end. Now he says he doesn't want to go back. Do I take him and just let him watch and ease in when he is ready and risk the struggles of the past or do I just say "Hey, you finished one lesson. Great job!" and then pull him from the lessons. I don't want him to be a quitter but is he too young or are we starting a pattern?
 

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I agree with the PP. I wouldn't worry about this too much. just reduce the classes for now. How many of us were taking classes at 3?! This is really a new phenomenon to sign very young children up for organized classes. generations of children didn't start any formal classes until 6 or 7 and no one seemed to have any trouble with follow-through or quitting.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thank you, lotusdebi. I have those feelings deep inside and I just needed to hear them from someone else. I am happy that he is not a follower and he has a mind of his own but it concerns me. I, myself, am a little of both. I think his introvertedness plays a role also. I just didn't know if I should take him everyday and have him go through the process and maybe get to used to it and start to participate or to just let it go. He starts pre-school in September and I really NEED hom to go. It is a co-op and is developmental so the kids can pretty much do their own thing but are encouraged to participate.
I just think it is very hard for me to support him in the way he needs to be supported while I am toting his baby bro around. Which gives him a certain level of insecurity on its own.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Quote:

Originally Posted by Ellien C
I agree with the PP. I wouldn't worry about this too much. just reduce the classes for now. How many of us were taking classes at 3?! This is really a new phenomenon to sign very young children up for organized classes. generations of children didn't start any formal classes until 6 or 7 and no one seemed to have any trouble with follow-through or quitting.
You know, I have thought about that, too!!
Thank you so much for the affirmation!
 

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my oldest daughter (6) is this way (she refused to do swim lessons this summer,) always has been (we have tried tumbling, soccer, karate, dance at her initial request and then she didn't want to continue,) and I've never pushed it. She would never do activities away from me when she was under 5-never. If it's any comfort, she was fine though when it came time to go to kindergarten. I totally understand how you feel-trying to do these things while toting around a younger sibling is challenging!

I've found with many of these activities (at least in dd's case) the facilitators were often teenagers who kind of treated the kids like a herd, or they were "speaking down" or fake with the kids, and she immediately picked up on it and would have nothing to do with it. As dh said, she has an astute "lame-o-meter. But with a more-skilled, sincere kindergarten teacher who genuinely cared about her it was completely different. She wanted to belong and participate. She also went to a two week day camp for two hours a day this summer, at her choosing, and I was very proud of her for going out of her comfort zone. But she did this because she liked the director, who is very respectful and nurturing with the kids. I am sure he'll be fine!
 

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You are describing our son as well! He and dh really butted heads when he outgrew 'munchkin soccer' and didn't/couldn't participate in the ones where there was no parental invovlement. Finally my MIL convinced dh that maybe it just wasn't the right time.

Ds has since refused swimming lessons, soccer, tumbling, music, etc. He does go to daycare 3x a week, and since he was just over 4, has loved it. He actually said to me last night "I wish I could go every day." (Admittedly, it's a great place and his best friend is enrolled full time.) He'll be doing K there and I'm not worried.

At age 3 and 3 1/2 our son's preschools were very, very good about letting him join in at his own pace. I wouldn't worry about that at all.

Our park and rec has "Your Preschooler and You" swim classes - you might look into somethign like that.

And hey, there are worse things than being a non-conformist!
 

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I say 3.5 is still very young to expect a child to seperate from mom. My oldest did it in gymnastics, as long as I stayed on the sidelines where he could see, but no way my middle child would do it (she's about 3.5 now). She has trouble staying with Grammy without mommy. She asks to go, but then gets nervous and after a couple hours wants to come home. I wouldnt push. Plenty time for all the rest. My oldest child quit soccer. He played one season and wanted to quit the next. I blame the coach. First year he had an awesome coach, a woman btw, and the second year had one of those guys who is bent on winning and whipping 'em into shape! (they were four)

What worked well for us, if you just want an activity, is kindermusik. Parent involvement at all ages. My kids love it! Sometimes my youngest runs around and does his own thing (he's only 18mos) but no one seems to care.
 

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Just echoing previous posters. My DS just turned three and we tried swim class without mama. It was really hard and I'm not planning to repeat the experience for a while. I've found a place that does parent in the water class up to 4 years old and we're going to do that instead. If you want your son to go to a class of some sort, maybe you can find something that allows parent participation still.

And my son goes to preschool (special ed) and although the first week was hard, he adjusted quite well after that and enjoys going. I think there's something about being able to see mama at swim class that makes it harder for him to separate. So I would try not to worry too much about that angle.

Catherine
 

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My son is 3.5 and his swim lessons are parent and child (although I think it's optional for the parent to get in, the kids insist). I tried lessons with more kids and no parents, and he freaked, even though he already knew how to swim!
I think it's just the age, since my son is very extroverted and the same way.

My parents made me stick out ballet lessons, and I HATED it. I was around 5 and still remember hating ballet. I really don't think we should take something meant to be fun and turn it into a chore.
 

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I wanted to chime in from a teacher's point of view -- 3.5 is way too young to be worried! I teach creative dance for kids age 3 through 12, and I have many, many 3 year olds who don't want to do dance class without mama. I just tell the mama that they aren't ready, and try again in a few months. I have *no* 5/6 year olds that have a problem being in class without mom, and *no* 5/6 year olds that cannot follow directions. I see about 200 kids a week, so I know of what I speak! You are not teaching him not to follow through with things with at that age, 3 year olds don't understand following through. I wish *more* moms would understand this, and I would have far less crying kids to try and comfort while teaching dance at the same time.
:

So I say, try and find parent participation classes and if you can't, just skip it until he is ready. A child-centered preschool is a totally different environment from a structured class. Don't worry that he won't do well in school, if it's developmentally appropriate, he'll be fine.
 

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I was in that position just over a year ago.

DS wanted to take gymnastics lessons, but only with me. We actually got permission for him to stay in the parent child lessons until he was 3.75 at which point we pulled him out.

When he was 4.5 he decided he wanted to do swimming lessons. We explained he would have to go by himself and he decided to.

This fall he will start martial arts--- by himself.

It might have taken him a little bit longer, but he made the decision on his own and I know he'll do great! I think 3.5 is way too young to worry. They change so quickly.
 
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