Should we persevere with toddler group for 3 year old(18 Posts)
Sorry, this is a bit long..
DS is 3.3 and for the longest time would not even step inside the door of a toddler group, so we stopped trying to take him. He is an only child who is very stubborn and by far prefers to stay at home and play with me and DH (we both work at home, although I only do when he's asleep - otherwise I take care of him), to doing very much anything out of the house at all. It can be very frustrating, but we still take him out pretty much every day. Most of the time he enjoys it after a while, although on some days he seems to be too tired to (no reason for him to be tired most of the time, so it can be a bit annoying). I think he is an introvert, and although he loves to interact with other people he will only do it when he feels like it and on his terms. Otherwise he will ask to go home or ask me to tell the person to go away. Repeatedly. And then get very angry/upset (hard to tell the difference with him.. maybe it's anger first and then upset).
We are aware that he needs to be "socialised" since it won't be very long until he starts school and he will probably get a place in the school's pre-school before that, as well, so we have recently started to make a bit more of an effort to meet with other people. We do not have many friends here, so only have one mother with one boy his age to meet up with for play dates once a week, which DS now mostly enjoys. I also take him to a dance class, which he loves, although the intensity of his joy can overwhelm him at times, so sometimes he will need to sit on the side of the room with me for a while before joining in again (during this time he usually says that he want's to leave as he's "too tired").
After hitting 3, DH has been taking DS to the toddler group on one morning of the week. To our surprise he seemed to like it, although would not join in with the singing in the end (would not even sit in the circle). However, for the last two weeks he has refused to stay for longer than a few minutes after DH has paid for the privilege. First time was because another child was playing with a toy DS wanted, and he had a complete melt down. The usual techniques of implementing taking turns or distractions (including offering other toys) did not work and DH had to take him home. On the second occasion, someone ran into DS and knocked him over soon after they'd come in. Again he just wanted to leave. As a last resort, DH gave DS his phone to play with until he calmed down, but DS would not get off the phone or play any more, so, again, they left.
My question is, do we try to persevere with the toddler group?
If he is 3 can you not claim your 15 hours at a state nursery. You may find he enjoys being around his peers more when you are not there
That might well be true. He's on the waiting list for the school nursery very close by. It's very popular, though, so could be a while.. Also, the private nurseries close to us are equally oversubscribed. We don't have a car, so it really needs to be walking distance. However, I would prefer for DS to go to the school nursery, so that starting school there won't be such a daunting thing. He's not very good with changes..
Have you thought about taking him to the dr about his tiredness? He may actually be tired...
It's a change regardless, but they are usually very good at easing transitions.
My dd was hopeless at toddler groups, would sit on my knee the whole time. She is just 3 and started at he preschool and practically shoos me away already
ellesabe: I suppose I should just in case. His (claimed) "tiredness" in quite random/inconsistent, and tend to kick in when he has to do something he doesn't like (e.g. going out). I cannot see any reason why he would actually be tired (in any other than emotional way - needing his own space to relax) - he sleeps enough and, although is not the best of eaters, should be getting enough iron (I give him a supplement). But I suppose there could be something hidden going on.
HoneyDragon: Good to hear! Maybe I'll have another look at nurseries around here.. Although, I've found that private nurseries only tend to offer 1 or 2 long days a week, which I feel would be extremely hard on DS, who gets easily fed up and tired (needs a nap on most days). Also, he is a bad eater who does not eat anything if out of his comfort zone/too excited/being offered food he doesn't like (a long list!), so would be absolutely shattered and starving by the time he comes back home. The school's nursery offers 5 afternoons a week, which would be a lot better.. But he could still be on the waiting list nearly a year later, though, as anyone even slightly older than him will jump ahead of him in the queue.
It sounds to me as though he's overwhelmed, rather than tired.
Unless the adult who is taking him to toddler group is getting anything out of it, I wouldn't bother, unless you know it will may be only for a short period, and are prepared to leave when he has had enough.
He sounds very much like my DS1 at that age. Finding the right setting for DC like this is very important. You will have to use your gut instinct a lot.
Lynette: I think so, at least sometimes.. or out of his comfort zone..
I think we will try a bit more with the group and if it doesn't work out.. then maybe try again in a month or so.
It's interesting to hear that you DS was similar. How is he now?
He has been very up and down, dependent on how good his nursery/ school was (for him - not rated by ofsted!)
Toddler groups were always a bit of a strain, but I persevered as I needed the adult company. Toddler singing groups were his idea of hell, and he would just walk out. He adored nursery once he was settled - it was very small, 3 staff to 12 children. He had a brilliant reception teacher, and coped well in the small infant school. When he moved to a three form entry junior school he absolutely crumbled. He's now at a comprehensive who claim their pastoral care is second to none. I gave them 2 weeks. He's now in Y9 and content.
Lynette: Oh dear.. sounds like I have potentially a hard slog ahead of me..
Someone I used to be quite close to suggested that I was pandering to DS's whining during a play date in the park with her girl, but I don't think that's true. You just can't make DS do anything (even run around and play in the park) if he's having that kind of a day. I try, but mostly just tend avoid situations where he would whine, but if not possible then either ignore whining (if minor) or divert (snack, drink, toys, etc.). She saw that as pandering, and that I should just say to him that if he doesn't behave and stop moaning, we have to go straight back home. But that's what he wants!! Needless to say her child is completely different, and we haven't been on a play date since.
Great to hear that your DS is happy now! How is he in other ways, socialising with friends, family? Does he like going out or would he rather stay at home?
Sorry to be so nosy!
Neither of my boys were good at playgroups. I always found gymboree better, little kickers and swimming classes - less sharing and more activity!
DD loves toddler group and is only 21 months.
DS1 now is very social and loves groups things, DS2 less so, but is getting better.
Yes, I came across other mums who thought I was pandering to DS too! They just don't get it!
He doesn't care much for socialising. He's quite happy with his own company, although if a friend organises something he might go along with it. Or he might just say no thank you. He likes a lot of notice of things, so if a friend asked him to go to tea that day after school he would most probably decline.
When he was a toddler I had to give him half an hours notice that we needed to go and post a letter. He's quite happy to stay at home, but will go out on his bike if he wants something from a particular shop.
He's quite stubborn and I learned that if we went swimming (something he usually likes), got to the side of the pool and he said he didn't want to get in, there was no point forcing the issue, or cajooling, or bribing, because he just wasn't going to get in. Mostly things have to be to his agender, although he has got better with age, and having younger siblings has meant he has to fit in with them at times.
What does he do in the house? If he does a good variety of different a activities then I wouldn't worry too much but if he just wants tv or to slump doing nothing I'd be more worried.
Do you have any nice sympathetic friends who would like to bring their DCs to your house for a playdate? I say sympathetic because I guess you'd want them to be understanding if your DS was overwhelmed by having other kids in his home.
My DS is 3.3 and an only child too. He's just started a couple of mornings a week at pre-school and he really likes it. What helped him (apart from great teaching staff) was having several friends who also went there.
If you'd helped him establish some friendships with playdates at home, your DS might find the transition to a bit of pre-school quite good fun too.
Forgive me if you're already having people round, or if it's impossible because your DH works at home. It's just a thought.
Thanks for your posts everyone! Have been trying to work today, and then fell asleep on the sofa at 8 pm for about an hour, so am not tired any more. Will likely be up at 4 am still and be really out of it tomorrow
DS does like to do all sorts of cool stuff at home (building train tracks,hand puppets,baking,playing shop,jigsaws,toy cars,constructing marble runs,music/dancing/lego/a bit of art and craft, even occasional messy play, etc.), but is not a very independent player. I have pretty much always have to sit down with him and play, which on some days feels like the last thing I want to do. Also I don't always quite feel up to crafts or messy play, so those are less frequent, tbh. But I'm sure you all know the feeling DS's favourite game is to pretend to be a little kitten. I have to be cat mum, swaddle him in a blanket (he was swaddled as a baby) and stroke him. Sometimes I worry whether this is normal..
He can play some games and watch preselected youtube videos on my tablet computer, and watch Cbeebies, but I try to limit it to a max of 2 hours a day (although realise that even that is a lot.. but I mainly use the time to do important work things during the day, as well as housework that DS can't or won't help with). He has learned a lot from the stuff he plays with on the tablet and watches on telly, so do not feel quite as bad about it as I probably should.
We know one lovely little boy (similar to DS in many ways), with a sympathetic mum, that we have weekly play dates with, but we tend to try to go outside rather than stay indoors. But if we have to stay indoors, then DS is definitely more relaxed at home. When we went to the boy's house last week, DS just got overwhelmed by the "new" toys, and would not share with the boy. Nor would he stop long enough to eat or drink anything offered (even chocolate). TBH, he was tired (missed a nap), so it could have been a factor, as well as maybe low blood sugar. After a while he could not be reasoned with at all any more, so I had to drag him home kicking and screaming, all angry that he had to leave the boy's toys behind. DS went to bed as soon as we came home and fell asleep within a few minutes (a bit awkward since it was 5 pm, but could not prevent it).
We don't really know more people here, but I am trying to change this. It's slow though, and I'm really bad with wanting to really "click" with people to spend any time with them. Otherwise I can take them or leave them really. I sound like DS now! I wouldn't want to spend time with someone who thinks my child is a brat and I'm an incompetent mother.
Karoleann: Forgot to say that I would do more classes with DS, but they all seem to be either something he wouldn't do or too far away (we don't drive). So, we just do the dance class for the time being. He does like it most of the time!
I'm sure he would adore something gymnastics based or organised messy play. He is a bit of a scaredy cat, so taking him swimming is a very rare occasion (they just closed the only pool around here with wade-in access, so we have only got the deep pools left - DS is afraid of deep water - and of course will not wear arm bands or floating vest either), although I am determined for him to learn as soon as possible.
Only, he has to decide to want to do it. Otherwise we will most probably have the scenario Lynette described. We HAVE actually had that scenario, the last time we went swimming - DS very reluctantly got in the pool with DH for 5 minutes, after which he wanted out and started playing with the showers in the communal shower area, refusing to go back to the pool.
That's when I decided going swimming was too much work (getting the bust to town, getting changed, showering - DS hates water on his head, coaxing DS into pool, making sure nobody splashes water in his face or bump into him while in the pool, showering AGAIN, towel drying, getting changed whilst trying to make sure that dry stuff stays dry and doesn't fall on the floor and DS does not escape out of the cubicle, getting bus back home...) for very little reward. Sorry. Rant over!
What seemed to work best for DS at this age was having people over for short amounts of time (I hour was enough, but it's tricky, as most people come round to play for the morning/afternoon) I was lucky enough to meet a fabulous friend with a DC the same age who lived nearby. We would every most week days. If she came to us, after an hour DS would point at the front door and shout "Go home." They took the "hint" very well, and our friendship managed to survive to this day.
I realise inviting people round to your house just for a short play may well be tricky.
Lynette: Yes, that would be a great way to do it and would definitely work with DS. Sounds like you had the ideal set up . Can ask lovely lady (who only lives up our street) with the nice DS, whether she would like to see twice a week instead of once a week.. Don't want to seem to scarily keen though.. don't know her massively well.
Went to a Scandinavian playgroup thingy yesterday. It was the first time we'd gone to it, and I was extremely lucky, since they had chosen DS's favourite topic (space) for their theme for story and crafts that day.
He quite enjoyed the group, although was overwhelmed by the amount of kids and declared that he wanted to go home within 10 mins of arrival when they were still doing free play and setting up. All the other kids knew each other and none of them would play with him one-on-one, which saddened him (he was saying that he just wanted to play with someone - sad echoes from when I was a kid..).
Then the space story telling started, so I was able to distract him with that. Later on he was flagging again, so offered him a lolly (shock horror) to lick while sitting down. He didn't finish it, but at least he had some sugar in him, as refused all other snacks (including chocolate biscuits, happily chomped on by the rest of the kids). A clear sign he was overexcited/overwhelmed. In the end I managed to stay for nearly 2 hours, which was great.
The group is only on every other week and will have a different theme every time, so next time is ice skating. Not suitable for scaredy cat stubborn DS. I guess maybe go again in a month..
I think I have to play these groups by ear, because every day is different.. it's so hard though, because afterwards I'm exhausted from all the work I put into him enjoying it all and not leaving after the first few minutes. Also, hardly get to chat with any of the adults, which probably makes me look like a weirdo, and doesn't help in trying to get to know people, so that I can then ask them to come to ours to play (how wrong does that sound ?).
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