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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm looking for resources for teaching social skills (taking turns, playing together, etc.) to my 2 1/2 year old daughter. We go to playgroups when we can and it seems like she is not as social as other kids her age. Does anyone have a website or book or some activities to recommend? I feel like I need something more structured to help me work with her on this.<br><br>
Thanks!
 

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I think board games can be helpful to learn this. Really simple ones. Also, there are a lot of kids books. But mostly, I think that exposure and modeling are what bring it about. 2 1/2 is really young to even expect those behaviors.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks for the games suggestions. I think I will homeschool her for preschool, so I am more looking ahead to what I want to do with her in the fall, when she will be 3. I'm more concerned about social skills than academics. I'm surprised there are so many books on teaching preschoolers reading readiness and math and art but I only found one book about teaching social skills at this age! Guess I will have to come up with my own curriculum.
 

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You sound like such a good mama! I fret over manners so much, I think I have most of the books that have been written on the topic!!<br><br>
I agree that 2 and even 3's are waaay too early to expect socialization. That was the only and last advice I have ever taken from a ped regarding behavior.<br><br>
You can model social skills within your family. At dinner, exaggerate(sp?) manners. For ex:"*PLease* pass me the salt." Or, setup situations where all of you have to take turns at something. Take shopping for example, it's not*our* turn, it's *their* turn.<br><br>
But trust me, don't get in the trap of comparing your dc with others. I've gone down that road,and can catch myself doing it from time to time.<br><br>
When you have one dc, I do believe the socialization comes a little later. My dh is such a pushover, that when dd was 4, I got mad at him for always letting dd win at games! She didn't learn to lose until after that! Whereas ds learned from the time he could walk!<br><br>
There are books for earlychildhood about these concerns-books to read to your dc. Just browse around amazon, or even better ask your youth librarian to help you find books!<br><br><img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/blahblah.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="blah blah"><img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/blahblah.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="blah blah"><br>
mp <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile">
 

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BeanBean, my 3-year-old, is an extrovert. Next to the word "outgoing" in the dictionary there should be a picture of my son. His social skills are downright eerie, as far as I'm concerned. The thing is, I didn't teach him that at all; he was born that way. He's been trying to interact with people literally from birth, and has always enjoyed the company of others. He started talking very early because he was trying to communicate with people around him and it was very, very important to him.<br><br>
BooBah, my 20 month old, appears much less socially sophisticated than her brother. When someone talks to her in public, she generally sticks her thumb in her mouth and stares at them. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/lol.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="lol"> She'll put her head down against my chest or peek from behind my leg rather than interact with someone she doesn't know.<br><br>
In short, I think that social skills in the preschool set have a heck of a lot more to do with inborn personality traits than anything else. There's a wide range of normal for kids at this age. Many (most?) 2.5 year olds still engage primarily in parallel play; that is, they'll play next to another child but not *with* the other child. If you have some reason to be concerned (a nagging feeling that something isn't right, your child really stands out like a sore thumb among other children who are not only of a similar age/developmental level in other ways, but who are also only/firstborn/middle/whatever children), you should find out what is typical of children that age. Otherwise, I'd relax and enjoy my kiddo. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/thumb.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="thumbs up">
 

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Is she just not as outgoing, or talkative?<br>
you don't give examples of what "not as social" means to you, but if that's all, then don't worry one bit, just let her be hersefl!
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>cchrissyy</strong></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">Is she just not as outgoing, or talkative?<br>
you don't give examples of what "not as social" means to you, but if that's all, then don't worry one bit, just let her be herself!</div>
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<span>I was wondering the same thing. They're pretty much just whoever they are at that age. My son was pretty introverted as a little guy, and it wouldn't have helped much to try to teach him social skills beyond the usual politeness and kindness. As they grow older, they're able to use social skills to navigate all sorts of situations - like a handshake upon meeting someone - but when they're very little, I can't imagine how they could be made more extroverted.<br><br>
It could even backfire and make them self-conscious. Good grief - come to think of it, I remember my father, an extreme extrovert, often laughing heartily about the way I was too shy to speak to my nursery school teacher! I had taken her a rose from our garden, but I didn't know how to go about giving it to her while the other children were clustered around chatting to her, so I threw it to her. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/lol.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="lol"> He loved to imitate her startled reaction, "Well, thank you, Lillian!" I don't think he could ever have thought to prep me for how to handle breaking into an excited group of extroverted children to hand her that rose. He was still telling that story when I was grown!<br><br>
But I got curious a little while ago and typed "Little Golden Book of Manners" into the Amazon.com site, thinking there was probably such a book. There was - it's out of print, but there were a couple of very cute little books on manners for little ones! <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/wink1.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="wink1"> Lillian</span>
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thanks for the replies. By not as social, I mean she usually wanders off by herself if we are at a playgroup or the park. Younger kids will come up and follow her around and she doesn't pay attention to them. I don't mind that she is introverted, I am too, but this does seem unusual for her age. So I was thinking it would be helpful for her to have more structured situations doing something fun with other kids. Since we aren't going to do preschool, I was wondering if there was a book of lesson plans or something like that I could follow that focused on social skills. The only thing I found that might be what I am looking for is a book called The Kindness Curriculum. Has anyone used that?
 

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we have a little friend like that. One thing she's really come to enjoy is a mommy-and-me msuic class. everybody sits in a circle and sings, does fingerplays, and nursery rhymes<br>
It's ncie ebcuase she sees other kdis, sits by them, and watches them, and yet is very gorunded to mama, sitting on her lap all the time.<br><br>
ours was free at the church, but maybe your city has something similar, or other mama-and-me classes? It's a gentle way to get used to groups and staying close to other kids. our homeschooled 3yo neighbor does a city preschool with her mom for social reasons.<br>
Mom just had to call every teacher to find one who'd let her stay every time.<br><br>
so yeah, no book or home ideas for you, but there should be awealth of community events to choose from.
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>robinkate</strong></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">Thanks for the replies. By not as social, I mean she usually wanders off by herself if we are at a playgroup or the park. Younger kids will come up and follow her around and she doesn't pay attention to them. I don't mind that she is introverted, I am too, but this does seem unusual for her age. So I was thinking it would be helpful for her to have more structured situations doing something fun with other kids. Since we aren't going to do preschool, I was wondering if there was a book of lesson plans or something like that I could follow that focused on social skills. The only thing I found that might be what I am looking for is a book called The Kindness Curriculum. Has anyone used that?</div>
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Have you considered that if she wanders off by herself at a playgroup or park that she really just isn't interested in playing with other kids? Planning a structured social situation with an introverted child, or even one that isn't interested in playing with other kids, will surely backfire on you.<br><br>
Also, if you're planning on homeschooling your daughter and not sending her to preschool, she will have <i>plenty</i> of time to develop socially <i>in her own unique way.</i> Just like all children initially start out in diapers, nobody walks down the wedding aisle wearing them. Your daughter will develop the way she was meant to without you having to worry about controlling her social situations. Another thing to keep in mind is that in life there will be no "controlled social environments" in many respects. Your daughter will have to to use her intuition and trust her own judgment in order to develop in a positive way socially. By not trusting your own daughter and her own feelings and judgments, you're setting her up to try to change the personality that is inherently hers and teach her that even though she doesn't want to play with other kids, she must. This will hinder her greatly in life if she grows up thinking that she is unable to trust her own intuition or judgment.<br><br>
Just wondering if possibly you feel strange about being an introvert yourself and are projecting your feelings onto your daughter? An introvert that I know has an introvert son and was convinced that by placing him in forced social situations at a young age, she could change his behavior and make him different than he was. All that happened was that he was miserable, learned quite aggressive behavior from other kids, and he and his mother don't have a very good relationship at this moment.<br><br>
Try not to worry about your daughter's social skills at this age. She is only 2 1/2 right now and controlling her socially won't change anything about her personality or her wants and needs. She will develop along the lines that she was meant to, and she'll go off to college one day and won't ignore people that are trying to be friends with her then. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/lol.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="lol">
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
cchrissy - Thanks, I am looking for a music class for her, just haven't found one in this area yet. It would be a great chance for her to be with other kids.<br><br>
Kristine- I think I am just not explaining myself clearly here. I have no intention of forcing her to be social or control every social situation. Whatever ideas I come up with, if they aren't fun for her and me, we won't keep doing them. I know I could have benefited from being taught social skills instead of having to figure them out on my own. I may be falling into the parenting trap of trying to give her what I needed - I try to look out for that, but it does happen.
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>robinkate</strong></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">Since we aren't going to do preschool, I was wondering if there was a book of lesson plans or something like that I could follow that focused on social skills. The only thing I found that might be what I am looking for is a book called The Kindness Curriculum. Has anyone used that?</div>
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<span>I'm going to sound like a visitor from another planet, but the whole homeschooling preschool phenomenon has had me so baffled that I wrote to a little private email group of old friends who have been homeschooling for ages - most have grown kids now - and asked them when this all began and what it's all about. Apparently it started happening as academic preschools started popping up all over the country - so if someone isn't sending a child to preschool, it's assumed by everyone that they'll be homeschooling preschool. Well, I guess you all know that <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/orngbiggrin.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="orange big grin">!!!<br><br>
Anyway, you've made it clear that you don't intend to do academic preschool <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/thumb.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="thumbs up"> , but I'd like to offer the suggestion that you really don't even need to think in terms of *doing* "preschool" at all. She can learn everything she needs to know just in the natural process of hanging out with you in the same way she always has.<br><br><img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/redface.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Embarrassment"> I can see that this seems like a tangent, but I'm actually going somewhere with this. There's a wonderful book called <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/redirect.html?ie=UTF8&linkCode=ur2&camp=1789&creative=9325&tag=motheringhud-20&location=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.amazon.com%2Fgp%2Fproduct%2F0671884239%2Fsr%3D8-1%2Fqid%3D1142446276%2Fref%3Dsr_1_1%2F103-7646527-5793416%3F_encoding%3DUTF8" target="_blank">Books That Build Character : A Guide to Teaching Your Child Moral Values Through Stories</a>, by William Kilpatrick - and the idea is that children learn in a whole different way through good stories that stimulate their imagination. The book has an unfortunate title, because it sounds as if it's about a bunch of awful books that are written to teach morals. But no. It's only about the wonderful time-tested children's favorites and classics - wonderful books that many of our children have loved. That was certainly my experience in raising a child - we traveled through so many wonderful experiences and adventures together in books, and they went straight to the heart. So that's why I automatically searched in Amazon.com the other day to see if they had some nice children's books about manners - because I think children learn the most from simple and enjoyable stories they can relate to. One of the ones I found was Just Say Please, by Mercer Mayer - really cute, well-reviewed, and available for only $1.37 used on Amazon. They have a lot of sweet little books like that - and I really think those things, just read casually in an enjoyable way, would be <i>a lot</i> more effective than a curriculum. Truth be told, and personal experience, I think there are almost always better ways than a curriculum to introduce things to a child.<br><br>
I sure hope it isn't a royal pain in the asterisk to ask a simple question here and have people trying to take it somewhere else <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/wink1.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="wink1">. I've always wished the homeschoolers I met when I first started would have been more direct with me in their responses instead of just keeping their opinions to themselves. They could have saved us a lot of aggravation - which is a lot of why I spend so much time trying to help out others who are now in the position I was in then.<br>
- Lillian</span>
 

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Your dd may just do better with one or two children than in a group right now. I don't think the behavior you described is unusual for the age or for an introvert.<br><br>
How to Be a Friend : A Guide to Making Friends and Keeping Them by Laurie Krasny Brown<br><br>
Share and Take Turns by Cheri J. Meiners<br><i>There is a whole series by this author called Learning to Get Along.</i><br><br>
Raise Your Child's Social IQ : Stepping Stones to People Skills for Kids by Cathi Cohen
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Thanks for the book recommendations! I will check them out. Onlyzombiecat, you are right, she does better with a couple of other kids than in a large group. I am probably worrying about it too much.
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>robinkate</strong></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">]I am probably worrying about it too much.</div>
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<span>For what it's worth, I worried a lot unnecessarily about things like that when my son was the age of your daughter. It's really hard not to when we get so many messages that it's not okay for a child to be quiet or introverted. At some point many years later, I mentioned my son's "shyness" to him in passing during a conversation, and he said, "I'm not shy - I just don't say anything unless I have something to say." It took me awhile to realize that he really meant that. It's true <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/shrug.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="shrug"> - but he has a lot of friends. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/wink1.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="wink1"> Lillian</span>
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>Lillian J</strong></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">At some point many years later, I mentioned my son's "shyness" to him in passing during a conversation, and he said, "I'm not shy - I just don't say anything unless I have something to say." It took me awhile to realize that he really meant that. It's true <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/shrug.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="shrug"> - but he has a lot of friends. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/wink1.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="wink1"> Lillian</div>
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<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/lol.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="lol"> My husband is the same way... and BooBah is following in his footsteps. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/thumb.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="thumbs up"> Like I said, I think that social skills at such a young age have much more to do with inborn personality traits than anything else. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/thumb.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="thumbs up">
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>eilonwy</strong></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">Like I said, I think that social skills at such a young age have much more to do with inborn personality traits than anything else. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/thumb.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="thumbs up"></div>
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<span>There's even been some research cited in the news to that effect - that definite introvert vs. extrovert genes have been found. And of course longterm life experience is going to affect it all in various ways too. I've had times of being extremely shy and times of being extremely outgoing in my life. At some point, I just couldn't be bothered with being shy any longer <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/shrug.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="shrug">. It's NOT at ALL something that someone can generally control - I don't know what happened - it was just one of those weird life changes that's hard to understand... And I confess that sometimes I actually have some impatience with adults who don't just "get over it" and "get on with it." <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/orngbiggrin.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="orange big grin"> - not fair, not realistic, not rational, but maybe it's akin to being an ex-smoker. Ex-smokers, if you haven't come across them, are often a lot more unreasonable about smokers than some of the rest of us. Children being shy and introverted I can very much empathize with, though, because I remember it WELL! - Lillian</span>
 

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<table border="0" cellpadding="6" cellspacing="0" width="99%"><tr><td class="alt2" style="border:1px inset;">By not as social, I mean she usually wanders off by herself if we are at a playgroup or the park. Younger kids will come up and follow her around and she doesn't pay attention to them.</td>
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Based on my (extremely limited, I'll admit) experience (I only have one child, and these past 2 years have been quite a learning experience), I really think this is in the normal range at this age. My daughter is almost 2 1/2 as well, and does the exact same thing. But because I work part-time and she attends a home daycare, I can see that she has affection for an interest in the kids who are familiar to her. She's not particularly shy (which has been a shocker to me because I was extremely shy as a child), but I think playing with strangers in an environment where there's a lot to do on your own is either not her thing, or not her thing yet. One of the previous poster's mentioned having one or two friends to visit, and over time it seems like that will allow your daughter to build real friendships.<br><br>
But I think everyone else's ideas about helping with manners and social graces are good (I'm reading them with interest myself), I just have to remind myself not to expect too much, since my daughter is just 2.
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>TanyaLopez</strong></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">She's not particularly shy (which has been a shocker to me because I was extremely shy as a child), but I think playing with strangers in an environment where there's a lot to do on your own is either not her thing, or not her thing yet.</div>
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<span>And that's true of most adults who are not particularly shy. People so often assume that because children are children they want to play with any child who's around - but they have preferences and personal chemistry just like the rest of us. You don't generally see adults burst into parties or whatever and run around socializing with everyone there. They might be drawn to a few people or to a lot of people - or everyone - but they're not necessarily drawn to just anybody who happens to be in front of them or next to them. And yet, adults at least have some social tools for introducing themselves and making conversation, so it's even easier for them.<br><br>
I used to feel awful when someone would want to drop her child off at my house expecting my child to be happy to play with him for many hours at a time - when my son preferred having some quiet time to himself or with a good friend - but he wasn't given the same consideration an adult would get, so I was stuck trying to figure out how to handle it. Children get that a lot - "Go play." Not fair. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/wink1.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="wink1"> Lillian</span>
 
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