To Think Perhaps You Can Just Skip A Lot Of This Toddler Malarkey?(47 Posts)
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?
I'm not sure. I think small children have their own personalities, which I agree you can do stuff to enhance or tame a little, but perhaps not subdue completely. You could keep them indoors forcibly, as it were...but wouldn't you worry a bit that they'd be sad or maudlin about it?
I think it depends on the character. My DS is now 6 but he was craving company from about 18 months and it was almost cruel not to take him to child centred activities. Plus, he was my first so I definitely went OTT with the activities that involved lots of interaction with other children and therefore lots of teaching about sharing and about being gentle etc.
My DD who is 2 and 4 mths is much more like me - likes being out and about but is not that enthusiastic about other peoples' company. This combined with the fact that she has her brother makes it very easy for me to avoid going to playgroups which I'm not keen on. The only thing we specially go to is a toddler leisure centre activity called 'bounce and roll' but it is nothing like a playgroup as it takes place in the huge leisure centre sports halls and the emphasis is on using the equipment rather than chatting to other parents. There is no snack time or singing time or any formal routine to the group. She has to interact with others but there is so much room and equipment to use- sodt shapes, bouncy castle, trampoline, those small cars that they drive around in, that a lot of conflict over sharing is reduced. Tbh though DD is the kind of toddler that is not interested in conflict and will go and find something else to do or immediately understands if I say someone was on something first. Therefore, I can't say this lack of toddler interaction has reduced her ability to cope.
There's a girl in DD3's class (Y2 in Sept) who has been a complete homebody all her short life - mother far too overanxious and protective. She's not adjusting to school life at all well; even after a year of school she still cries hysterically when her parents leave, wouldn't take part in sports day at all ( her father showed up to watch her annd she spent the whole time clinging to his leg and crying to go home) and refuses to play with the other children at playtime or talk in class. Her father said she's just very sensitive, but frankly I think it's the parents' fault for making her so. They've done her absolutely no favours by wrapping her in cotton wool and never encouraging her to step out of her comfort zone.
I take ds to a toddler group a couple of times a week and he recently started part time at nursery when he turned 2.
I mainly do these things for him as he loves other children and is so happy to play with them. He plays so nicely with them as well and he is so easy to handle around other children. He acts like the model child around other children (fingers crossed this behaviour continues!)
If we do spend a couple of days at home without seeing other people and children he is quite different, has more tantrums, whines more and just doesn't seem as happy. Even things like eating, he eats better and is happy to try out different fruits and veg around other children.
At home is does play by himself so it is not that he relies on me for entertainment but he just prefers being around other children.
So I would have to say yabu, being around other toddlers makes parenting mine much easier (hope I haven't jinxed myself now!)
I think it is about balance and matching activities to your LOs personality and development. With my PFB I had it in my head that I MUST do something everyday sometimes twice a day. This only led me and DD being exhausted and over tired. As ive got more confident in my parenting I realise it's OK to just potter, walk to shop/park etc. But I've noticed a slchange in DD at 3 shes gone from not being that bothered if she saw her friends or not to actively asking when she is going to see them. I think this is a result of regular meet ups (weekly).
My 2nd LO gets a lot less organised activities he's just dragged around to what his sister goes to, poor child!
I will admit that thou I love the odd day at home I start going crazy and my DDs behaviour is a lot worse. She's a different child given the opportunity to go out and run about.
A boy in DS1's class started school age 4 having never attended nursery or pre-school or been taken to many toddler groups or play dates. He found the first few months VERY difficult and really struggled to adjust.
A relative of mine grew up under very secluded circumstances (combination of rural home and dominant father) -I have been told she really struggled when she started school.
I don't have any experience or evidence to support this, but it seems to me that young DC who are at home all the time, won't develop their motor skills as well as those that are out and about on trikes, scooters, climbing slides etc.
Nor will they be as healthy.
I'd also wonder how curious they would be if they only ever experienced the same things each day. Surely new things are how DC learn?
I missed the bit where she doesn't actually physically take him out except for a walk round the block. Agree with wordfactory: surely physical skills are difficult to develop inside his own sitting room and on a sedate walk round the block. And all the usual toddler stuff of getting used to mud and sand and leaves, fresh air and exercise.
I am a big believer in lots of socialising with small children
because i like to socialise but when I was a child back when Noah was a kid , many children grew up as homebodies because there were no softplay zones, no child centred activities, no-one talked about playdates ....because there was no focus on babies and small children having those needs.
Lack of labour saving devices meant that lots of women spent most of their time at home, running the home (it could take 2 entire days just to do the household washing before the invention of automatic washing machines!)
Children from that era, and the centuries before, did grow up with an ability to socialise well
So, unless the situation is about complete isolation (which doesn't seem to be the case) I don't think there is a lot to worry about.
I think there is a fine balance between home time and time out of he home. I think we all have different natural centre points we are drawn to.
My friends kids who have lots of home time tend to have quite centred and calmer teenagers. They still do interesting activities but are very homey generally. Socially they are very good with adults but slightly young for their age. They seem more innocent and wholesome.
My friends kids who have been out constantly (and I mean constantly) as teenagers are always on to the next thing. They are restless/crabby at home and have to be driven from one place to another endlessly. They are part of the it crowd. They are great with their friends but demanding with family.
I'm somewhere between the two.
I think I'd be closer to your friend's way of doing things. It all depends on personalities really and what you're happy with!
A lot of people find they need to socialise more for their own sanity.
I don't so much. I have a couple of close friends who bring their similar aged children to play (DD is 25 months) and they get on great and play nicely, but that's only every couple of weeks.
The rest of the time DD is just just as happy to play in the garden with me or on her own too. We go out but more often than not it's just the two of us.
I did take her to a toddler group recently as I was a bit concerned she wasn't mixing enough with other kids. She waded straight in happily but a lot of the time she spent playing doing her own thing anyway! Will probably take her back after the holidays but tbh she's pretty content with things so I don't fret any more about us not having a hectic schedule of meetups
Interestingly she doesn't tantrum much (yet) but certainly has her moments! Maybe it is a bit easier to model good behaviour etc... If they aren't constantly seeing lots of conflicting behaviours from lots of other children? I don't know - at this age they seem to copy what they see and it isn't as easy to explain what's right and wrong, so maybe it does make life a bit easier in that respect?
DD doesn't seem to crave other playmates although she likes them. I find she spends half the visit doing her own wee thing anyway!
I have another baby due so it'll be interesting to see if they're as content - they might be the complete opposite and I'll be forced out of the house in search of distraction
what is the dad like?
is he more outgoing?
if the mother is unconfident wirh tge world outside of her house then this will be mirrored by the child, surely?
Social skills aren't innate, they need to be learned so it depends what happens at home.
If his mum teaches him about sharing and the rest they'll be ok. If not then the boy will be in for a shock when he starts school as the other children will have skills in advance of his own.
Tantrums are annoying, but part of a child's developing independence.
One result of spending so much one on one time with me is that DD has a very noticable Northern Irish accent despite the fact that we live in Gloucestershire
DH thinks it's great and hopes she keeps it but no doubt it'll soon fade once she starts school.
It'll be funny to show her videos when she's older though!
I don't think children necessarily grew up as homebodies in the past.
There were fewer organised activities but they were far more likely to be chucked out to play in charge of an older sibling or the child next door. I know the next door neighbour used to take me out when I was 1-2, and when I was 3-4 I was allowed out to play on my own. I know my mum and dad had similar experiences in their childhood; as did my grandparents.
There may not have been official playdates, but kids came knocking on the door for you.
So a lot of the stuff that people use softplay or the park for these days just happened naturally.
These days staying at home is far more likely to mean just that.
This is really interesting although not something I had considered.
My dd (now 10) and I never went to any toddler groups or much soft play and she fit right in at the nursery attached to her school.
No problems with sharing, socialising or the like.
The teachers praised her vocabulary, problem solving and social skills.
My son (now 7) and I went once a week to a group and a few meet ups that stemmed from that, plus had his older sister at home, and has always struggled much more with turn taking and appropriate behaviour.
I think it is MAINLY to do with the child and their personality but very happy to be told I'm wrong.
Cory that's a very valid point
Well lots of interesting thoughts on the subject.
I agree that individual temperament will play a big, big role. Its so hard to look back though and determine how we have affected our sons temperament with our own lifestyle. The whole nature vs nurture debate and all that.
I sort of thought my friend and I would bond a bit over having young kids but the more I consider it the more I realize that parenting will be completely different for us. We are unlikely to be to have the common ground of shared experiences between us.
That makes me a bit sad and perhaps also a bit jealous of SOME of the things she will likely bypass
Blah! that should say...unlikely to have the common ground of shared experiences.....
I have to go out and do things, with other people or just any kind of activity, or I would go mad, but then so would my DC. They fight more and strop more when they're stuck at home - it just seems worse when you're put because it's public. And FWIW my DS was worse at home even when he was an only, before I had DD.
However, a lot of what we do out and about isn't necessarily child-centred or structured. From birth onwards I have always taken them to do the food shop, on errands like going to get paint mixed, to meet adult friends, to the car wash etc etc as well as to classes and activities, playpark, beach and so on. I think this is useful as it teaches them about the reality of everyday life, it can be educational (learning about money, seasonal veg, how paint gets mixed what have you), they learn to interact politely with adults etc.
I do think some people are a bit excessive with the endless kids' activities. I had one friend who wouldn't dream of making her kids do anything that wasn't "for kids". I found it very boring tbh.
If the relatives they see have children too, (my best friend has huge extended family she socialises with but no-one outside that so her kids are used to socialising and chaos) possibly social skills wont suffer but speaking for myself, my mother was an extreme home body, we had no relatives with children and i struggled and still do, socially. They teach emotional intelligence (social skills) in US schools now as a lesson as its now recognised what a negative impact on education and life it can have if you dont learn these skills early. I can still remember my terror first day at nursery tbh ..it took me weeks longer to settle than all the other children. Growing up, in my teens i also lived next door to an extreme home body with a 4 year old I babysat .. she struggled socially too,she was terrified at her own birthday party as her mother invited the whole class who she barely socialised with at school never mind outside it...
Join the discussion
Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.Register now
Already registered with Mumsnet? Log in to leave your comment or alternatively, sign in with Facebook or Google.
Please login first.