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To Think Perhaps You Can Just Skip A Lot Of This Toddler Malarkey?

(47 Posts)
FixItUpChappie Tue 06-Aug-13 23:08:54

I am having difficulty phrasing what I mean so bear with me please.

I have a friend who never goes out with her 1.5yr old aside from a walk around the block and the occasional meet up with relatives. My friend is content to be an extreme homebody. Knowing her well, this is unlikely to change.

A mutual friend has commented that her son will perhaps struggle socially as a result and initially I was inwardly inclined to agree but thinking more about it I have to wonder if perhaps she will just get to bypass a lot of the parenting difficulty of toddler years.

Her son will not know anything but a quiet home-life. He will be accustomed to being home all the time and to entertaining himself. He will not know he is missing out on softplay. He will not have the opportunity to hit or be hit at a playdate. She will not have to deal with other parents and all that entails. She will not experience the constant ?share!, share!? soundtrack and stress over your own child's behaviour that accompanies interactions with other children.

Can you just skip all that stuff by entering the social world when everyone is a bit more reasonable or does it hold a child back a bit do you think?

Is it possible that totting my kids around to this and that park and playdate just serves to make parenting more tiring for me or do you think there are tangible benefits? Perhaps my friend is onto something!

Does that question make sense to anyone but me? grin

LauraPashley Tue 06-Aug-13 23:12:07

It makes sense and is something I have wondered before! Will be interested to see replies. He may find nursery hard OR he may just slot right in.

I think in her shoes I'd be bored rigid tho? I will freely admit to only going to these things for adult company!

WilsonFrickett Tue 06-Aug-13 23:13:52

I think there's an advantage to learning your social skills at the same time as everybody else. A 5 yo 'out in the world' for the first time will still have to learn sharing, dealing with others etc, just after the point most other children manage it. So while it may be easier to teach a more mature child, they'll be apart from their peers.

But I suspect just tottlling about and living the quiet life doesn't in itself do DCs any harm at all.

I wonder that with DD. At 2.5 I swear she has more tantrums and is more nightmarish than other toddlers. Then I secretly wonder if those parents just avoid dance, soft play, the shops without partners. I bloody bet they do.

Also, I walk DD everywhere. If I strapped her into the pram/car like everyone else, she would be a lot more easy to manage.

FixItUpChappie Tue 06-Aug-13 23:16:24

Well I'm glad I was coherent at least! We don't have the nursery set up you have in the UK either so I think its possible his first sort of formal social setting could be kindergarten at age 5.

Turniptwirl Tue 06-Aug-13 23:16:35

I do see your point but a 4 or 5 year old who has always been on his own with mum isn't going to cope with school and other kids who hit and share and tease and make friends. They're not mature enough at that age to cope well enough with the shock of it.

Tbh I don't know when would be mature enough, some kids never would be others might be at different ages.

I had a small circle of baby friends (3 others my mum knew from anti-natal) until I started preschool at 3 and apparently it was a struggle for me to adjust, not that I'm scarred for life or anything, just what my mum says. My sister, having had me and my friends around all her life had an easier time.

It would be an interesting study actually but would fail all ethics tests!

(Not suggesting your friend is doing it as an experiment btw)

HarryTheHungryHippo Tue 06-Aug-13 23:17:33

I've wondered similar op. I've also wondered whether we're conditioned to think certain things are fun or whether we actually enjoy them. Eg bubbles, balloons etc. often my ds likes something after he's seen another child doing something, I wonder how much he'd like if he never had

YoniBottsBumgina Tue 06-Aug-13 23:17:35

I think it sounds fine. They don't play with other children until they get to about 3 anyway so IMO toddler groups before that age are more about the parents' sanity.

BTW, turn taking works much better for little children than "share nicely!" because they don't understand the concept of playing with somebody else at that age. You do have to go through the whole "These toys are for everyone to play with, not just you" but they get it so much easier when you actually show them what they're meant to be doing by taking turns rather than expecting them to understand that they can play with this part but little Johnny is playing with that part - they just can't comprehend it.

coralanne Tue 06-Aug-13 23:24:18

Turnip. What kind of world are you living in?

Are you saying that children should become used to being hit and teased before they are 4 or 5 or they will go into shock when they start school?

Nyla Tue 06-Aug-13 23:25:20

I suppose it won't harm him but I'd imagine it might be a bit harder as he gets older. My DD is an only child and we have no children in the family. Before we made a circle of regular friends at around 2.5 she was a bit of a evil bugger character at playgroup.

FixItUpChappie Tue 06-Aug-13 23:27:13

Yes Harry I know what you mean....for example my own toddler is very active but then WE are very active and always out and about. We think we need to go out a lot because DS would be bouncing off the walls without a good dose of physical activity BUT do we go out a lot because he is active or did we create that he is active by going out a lot?

Tricky...

YoniBottsBumgina Tue 06-Aug-13 23:28:18

If she is a homebody I bet they'll have a great time. They'll have a really close relationship if she's happy to do all of the at home stuff and it's really interesting to watch them develop and grow at stuff. I just would have gone stark raving mad.

quesadilla Tue 06-Aug-13 23:29:13

Don't have any very scientific input to make but my gut tells me that keeping a toddler indoors for most or all of the day and not giving him a chance to try any proto social skills out wont be great for him when he comes to start school.

A lot depends on the temperament of the child. It could work for some kids but it seems a high risk approach.

LazyMonkeyButler Tue 06-Aug-13 23:29:59

I would worry about how the child might deal with being left when they start nursery or school. Also, how they might interact with other children, if they have not been used to doing so.

I am probably somewhere in the middle on this, as I do take 2 year old DD to one toddler group a week & encourage her to play with a friend's similar aged DS - but we certainly do spend much more time at home than some mums I know. Some toddlers seem to have something in the diary every day!

Nyla Tue 06-Aug-13 23:32:13

I agree about the parallel play because even when my DD made friends she would often play on her own but at their house. I just think it is better as they get older to get out and about more.

I wonder about the active thing too. DD is very active, can walk miles (literally), runs everywhere and then <THUMP> lights out to sleep. I think all the outside play to 'tire her out' is just making her fitter and more energetic. Seriously, she has baby muscles everywhere, lean and mean. I should give her TV and cake.

I didnt take DD1 to any classes/groups. She had occassional contact with family members who were all atleast 18 months older and a few encounters with children of friends who were slightly younger.

At the age of 2.5 she went to nursery for 6 months, there she favoured the adults, as adults were all she knew.

She is starting school in sept and her final report from the pre school teacher was positive. No issues, her words were "X can go into any situation and make a friend."

I think it depends on the child. If your friends DS is being taught to share in the home, has role playing games etc and is talked to, I dont see an issue.

I do however feel within myself, that I struggle socially, and I wonder if that is because I started school at 5 and had no real social contacts before that, or is it just me?!

MorrisZapp Tue 06-Aug-13 23:46:38

The nursery are doing a marvellous job bringing up my kid. I'll take the reins when he's reasonable, civilised and toilet trained.

FixItUpChappie Tue 06-Aug-13 23:52:26

I think all the outside play to 'tire her out' is just making her fitter and more energetic.

grin I am on your wavelength MrsTerry

sillyoldfool Wed 07-Aug-13 00:03:17

depends on the child, and the parent. I'd go loopy at home alone with my kids all day!
My eldest didn't really play with other children till she was over three, my second was barely two when she had a little posse of friends, she is very social and loves playgroups etc.
I'm happy at home with them when they're both here to play together, but when the oldest's at school it's way easier to be out and about with my younger one.

MrsMook Wed 07-Aug-13 00:21:46

I end up going out most days with my 2 1/2 yr old, not necessarily to baby things, often it's something mundane like the supermarket. I struggle being in too much. It drove me round the bend in late pregnancy when I was struggling with crutches for SPD, and a couple of times a week we went to supermarket cafes purely to get out of the house.

He comes with me to Brownies and loves it. He struggles with his own age group, and likes the ordering, routines and mothering that the older children give him. Really it's the best of both worlds with the social interaction, but less conflict.

I suppose modern parenting constructs this baby/ toddler social world to compensate for smaller and more remote families, and the increased spare time that SAHMs have as domestic duties are much less labour intensive than they once were.

Moderation is probably the key. Stressed and exhausted toddlers from a tight schedule and demanding social situations is not good, but being very isolated and home based isn't great for many children and parents either.

PeriodMath Wed 07-Aug-13 00:27:32

I'm not sure...but your OP made me smile. Never having the opportunity to hit or be hit, fretting over your child's behaviour in public, the screeching "share, share soundtrack".

So true.

peachesandpickles Wed 07-Aug-13 00:44:12

I think I am quite like the person described in the Op. I am the type who is happy to spend a lot of time at home.

When my 2 were toddlers we went to a toddler group once a week but to no other organised activities. I took them to the library and shops with me, we visited MIL once a week. No park nearby so played outdoors in our own garden.

Not in uk so no nursery system, mine went to preschool, one when turning 4 and one a little over 4. The older one loved it, made friends etc and went to school with no problems.

The younger is a little shyer and took a bit longer to settle.

Until pre-school neither had spent much time away from me at all. We did seem to avoid a lot of toddler issues I hear about. I doubt if either has ever had a full blown tantrum, both very good to share and always play very well with others. I think a lot of that is down to personality though.

One thing I would say is they both took a while to get used to the rough and tumble of being with other kids. For example they found it difficult to hold their place in the line for the slide etc as they didn't understand why everyone wouldn't wait their turn. But that comes it time and I like their gentle, generous spirits.

All in all I think it has a lot of benefits to live an easy going un-scheduled life as a toddle but each to their own.

peachesandpickles Wed 07-Aug-13 00:47:25

Meant to add that although we were home a lot they were always very active and both very healthy, no weight issues or problems with being stuck in front of tv all day.

NapaCab Wed 07-Aug-13 01:00:01

It's just not optional for me. If I had to stay home all day every day with my 22 month old, I'd be ready to hit the bottle from sheer mind-crushing boredom and isolation.

It is definitely easier to stay home and let him tootle about the house but I just can't bear it. Not sure if his social skills will be helped or hindered by taking him to art class, Spanish class, toddler hiking and music playgroup and endless park excursions but it stops me from losing my marbles!!

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