Why can't adopted children go to play groups?

(24 Posts)
PicaK Sun 01-Jun-14 18:09:00

I was in danger of hijacking someone else's thread so started my own.

Feeling stupid cos I didn't realise that standard advice is not to take adopted children to groups for first 6 months. I thought I'd understood (as a newbie right at the start) about having to parent differently but I guess I hadn't taken it on board.

Can you explain why no groups (I genuinely don't understand - desperate not to sound confrontational) and what activities are recommended?

kmarie100 Sun 01-Jun-14 18:32:25

I've never heard this, I started taking my dd to one after about 3 months with no issues. SW aware and never said anything to me.

Hels20 Sun 01-Jun-14 18:35:49

I've never heard of this. DS was used to going to a toddler group. After 2 months - I thought he would be ok to go to a music class once a week for 30 mins with me and about 8 other children.

What I didn't do was have any play dates for 3 months and restricted visits from other people to my best friend and my parents. After 3 months, I began taking him to my parents house and my best friend's house. He went to his first party (with me but with 15 other children) 6 months in. I am still wary of taking him to lots of different people's houses - prefer people to come to us. We are 7 months in and our DS was 2.5 when he came to us.

Stripytop Sun 01-Jun-14 18:44:35

I have heard of this, as a friend was in this situation. it's in case they are recognised by extended members of birth family. No photos on facebook etc for the same reason.

Presumably they are less recognisable after a period of 6 months.

Lilka Sun 01-Jun-14 18:46:12

It depends on the child, but some children find the stimulation at noisy and busy play groups too much, especially right after they've just been through the move to adoptive parents (which is stressful enough in itself). It's quite common (although by no means is it all children) for recently adopted children to get too overwhelmed and anxious in these environments, and for the first few months, if that is your child, your attachment likely won't have yet reached the level where your comfort and presence can really calm the child inside and take away some of the overwhelmed feelings.

I never took DS to toddler play groups, because I could see it would be far too much for him to cope with, with his insecurities and sensitivity to sensory stimuli. He needed quieter environments, and he wasn't secure with me, so I wasn't a safe base if he was struggling in a busy environment.

You'll have to judge how your child is doing when they come home, and see whether you think they will be fine with a group or not after a couple of months - although I suggest being cautious with noisy and busy environments and limiting them until you are sure your child is fine with it - build up in small doses IFSWIM

Parsnipcake Sun 01-Jun-14 18:51:54

I am a Foster carer. For a lot of children who have had huge upheaval, a noisy play group is sensory overload, and they confusedly go upto every adult as they aren't sure who they are with. I generally stick to activity based groups, such as a music or swimming group which are close and bonding, not free play. It is often recommended to 'funnel' which is to provide all your child's needs so they know you are their primary figure. It can be hard to do this at a play group. I find it doesn't apply to all children though, and certainly not 6 months unless they have significant attachment issues.

BettyBotter Sun 01-Jun-14 18:56:40

Imagine you were picked up from all you knew and transported to an alien planet. Kind aliens look after you and care for you. You might start to feel safe. Then one day another pair of aliens from a different planet pick you up in their spaceship and take you off to a new planet. It's OK on the new planet, the aliens are kind - just different. Then one of the new aliens whisks you off in the spaceship to yet another planet with lots of other big and little aliens playing with toys, who are all kind and friendly.

You might just feel overwhelmed. You mght not be too sure which aliens were your safest ones. You might feel that life is just full of endless changes of aliens and so you need to behave in ways that will protect you from the changes.

Maiyakat Sun 01-Jun-14 19:54:09

DD and I started going to a toddler group fairly soon after she moved in. I'm a single parent and we both occasionally needed to see people other than each other! It was a relatively quiet group, we went twice a week and only stayed for as long as she was happy. It was a godsend in those first crazy months. Obviously that wouldn't be the best thing for all children, but it worked for us.

fasparent Sun 01-Jun-14 20:08:58

Crazy Many of our pre Adopted baby's and children already frequent playgroup's and mother & baby sessions., Have not got an infection, so don't need isolation. SS insist they believe in inclusion early, so forced exclusion could be in effect counterproductive. agree introduce slow and
with caution child needs also too gain trust and feel safe with new parents and their judgements. being left alone after 6 months on could also be traumatic, if a child has or shows social skills these should be encouraged and nurtured.

namechangesforthehardstuff Sun 01-Jun-14 20:21:40

I'm very interested in this as we're looking at a match right now. With DD (BC) I did loads of this sort of stuff, church groups, soft play and gymboree. I tend to helicopter parent anyway. I was thinking maybe 2 months sort of lockdown then maybe try gymboree and a local church group where you have to join so it's the same people week in week out... Does that sound feasible?

namechangesforthehardstuff Sun 01-Jun-14 20:23:56

I suppose I'm wondering if it makes a difference if it's us interacting in a different environment rather than me having a coffee and him being smacked over the head with a train set in the corner.

Or him doing the smacking...

UnderTheNameOfSanders Sun 01-Jun-14 20:31:29

DD2 was 2.5 when we adopted her with her older sister.
Intros were 4 weeks long.

I started taking DD2 to toddler groups during intros (!), though I was pretty stuck to her.

For me I needed to just get stuck in so straight after placement as well as toddlers I also took her swimming and did 'music with mummy' at a neighbours.

I would not have coped if I'd had to go on lock down for 2 months.

Lilka Sun 01-Jun-14 20:32:49

Sounds fine to me name smile If you think it's going well after a couple of months then there's nothing wrong with trying a group, I'd suggest one of the quieter ones first, and you don't have to go back if it doesn't work out. I think by a couple of months in, you'll know better how much stimulation your DC is able to cope with

I think it's likely to be better if it's you and him doing things together, rather than you sitting in a corner and him with a bunch of rowdy toddlers smacking each other doing their own thing

Lilka Sun 01-Jun-14 20:35:59

And of course you can get out and about straight away after placement with quieter activities. I don't like being in the house all the time, and DS loved swimming with me and DD2, we went when it was quieter. Although when DD2's in a pool it's not quiet for long (and not in a good way!!). We also loved walks together, and the play park etc

PicaK Sun 01-Jun-14 20:48:14

Thank you everyone for your comments. I'd gone and cried in the bath cos I know a 6 month quarantine would be too hard for me and thinking I should back out now.

But some quiet reflection, realising I use "play group" to cover everything from music classes, baby yoga, signing, swimming, painting etc etc and also that there were groups I knew instantly weren't right for ds - means I think I WOULD have the skills to play it by ear.

DS is sen and I'm used to instinctively avoiding situations I know would overload him (eg trying to do a full supermarket shop). I guess it would be another huge learning curve but feeling like it is one I could do.

namechangesforthehardstuff Sun 01-Jun-14 21:01:24

Crying right there with ya Pica wink

KristinaM Sun 01-Jun-14 21:34:12

Foster carers and adoptive parents have a different agenda

FCS usually have a busy house with other children, either bio or fostered or even grandchildren around. Their agenda is to get the LO into a good routine and address any obvious developmental delays. to get some idea of what problems seem to be resolving with good care and which ones might need specialist input. Perhaps to deal with contact with birth family and be part of the assessment process. To look at how a child's needs might be met in permanence .

Adoptive parents are trying to build a bond of attachment for life. The usually don't have other pre school children , so can be more flexible about meeting a child's needs and spending lots of one on one time. For the child to learn who mummy is , to catch up on the 18 months of bonding they have missed ( assuming the child is a year old ) . This is precious time , you only get one chance.

No play groups doesn't mean not leaving the house for 6 month , you know. I've had quite a few children and we managed without them, they are not essential to life .

As others have said, There are plenty things to do with your child apart from that . But if You dump him in the middle of the floor with all the kids at play group and he cries, someone else will pick him up . He will learn to go to them when you want him to learn the opposite . This will reinforce his experience that adults can't too trusted to stay around .

If this is about you, as a mother, feeling that you won't survive at a Ft parent for six months, ,then that's another matter and you need to look at that and be honest with yourself . If you are someone who needs constant social interaction and lots of people to chat with all day every day , you may not like being at home with your child. That's fine, not everyone does.

You might need to agree with your partner that you split the parental leave, or you both go part time. You would need to see how that would work with your child.

But if you are planing your adoption leave to be a busy social whirl of parties, coffee mornings, play groups and shopping trips with the girls , days at the gym while baby is left with granny /the neighbour /anyone who will have him, I urge you to consider whether or not you might be better adopting a child of school age .

Newly placed Babies and toddlers need peace and time alone with mum to bond, just as you would with a new born. There a reason nature designed it this way , you know . They get 9 months inside you, then another few months of pretty much " mummy and me " time. Very few mums who have a choice leave their new babies with others until they are several months old. They think in advance that they will be expressing in week two and out for a night with the girls. But when it comes down to it, it just doesn't feel right.

KristinaM Sun 01-Jun-14 21:37:20

If you have SN child, you have already worked out what he can't cope with. There is no point is someone else saying

" well that ridiculous , of course you can take a 5 you around the supermarket,I do it all the time "

If you know your child will get over stimulated and have a melt down.its exactly the same for adopted kids, they all have Sn too. Just different ones.

kmarie100 Sun 01-Jun-14 22:22:52

I wouldn't get so stressed about it (but I am v laid back). Take your little one when it feels right. You can always keep close so no one else but you tends to them if they need it. Kids get so much from having time with other kids..and adult conversation will keep you sane.

PicaK Sun 01-Jun-14 22:37:58

KristinaM. No honestly - the dump and run mum is not me. (Smiles at the thought of a shopping trip -it's another no go activity tbh). Play groups round here mean you sit and play with your child. I remember now a few where parents/carers ignored the kids and we didn't go back.

I am taking it seriously. It was hard being a birth mum, it'll be harder adopting. I kind of know what coping mechanisms I need and a change of scene is important to me.

I can't put an adopted dc in a position where I let them down because I can't be the parent they need. As much as I want another child. It is food for thought.

Thanks again to everyone for their insight.

fasparent Sun 01-Jun-14 23:03:31

All these little things are all about social inclusions, and are in the main perhaps a few times a week some weekly only for maybe an hour or two
mostly in the company of new mum for security same as other children present many meeting new little friends for the 1st time, and other parents in same situation meeting other mum's. All part of bonding , be it any activity, will be out and about meeting people, be it at the park, play area , swimming, bowling, gym, etc...etc..

Devora Sun 01-Jun-14 23:19:37

I can't see this as a hard and fast rule, though it's a useful discipline to think about what your adopted child needs and how they may differ from a birth child.

I took dd2 to playgroups very early on. I was struggling a bit and found a little social interaction very helpful. dd was a velcro baby, so was always right by me or on me, and we did a lot of playing together. If she'd been a toddler who needed to be encouraged to bond to me, I might have made different choices.

Kewcumber Mon 02-Jun-14 12:08:11

I'm trying to recall what I did with DS - we had an enforced "quarantine" for a month as we were on our own in a foreign country with no access to baby groups and even if I had found any I'm not sure my Russian was up to it!

DS was also velcro baby and was only really happy with the kind a activity where he could see me and connect with me (and to be honest thats what I was happy with too). I didn't mean staying in - we went to the park with small groups of friends and the music sessions where they sat on your lap the whole time was fine. He wasn't fine with activities where they were expected to do stuff on their own because he was too scared I was going to disappear!

To be honest if he wasn;t scared of that I would have thought it an even worse idea putting him in that situation... they need to bond with you (to the exclusion of other adults) and rely on you.

I would say busy soft play areas where its easy for them to go off and forget about you are a bad idea but small groups (like tumble tots) where you walk around the equipment with them can be helpful.

I certainly got out of the house everyday as I was suffering from PAD (which resolved itself reasonably quickly) and needed to get out for myself. But mostly it was for a walk, to feed the ducks, to cafes with just us or with my mum etc.

Sharon09108 Mon 02-Jun-14 21:44:12

Message deleted by MNHQ. Here's a link to our Talk Guidelines.

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