Just wondering if anyone has any advice/experience to share...
DS (18 mos) doesn't enjoy toddler groups at all. He is a fairly clingy child at the best of times, but gets 100 times worse at these groups. He will play a little bit as long as I am with him (all the other DCs - even those a lot younger- seem to be much more independent), but will always try and lead me to the back/side of the room where he is away from the other children.
If I attempt to sit at the side of the room and have a coffee (like all the other mums/carers) he'll come and stand next to me and cuddle my knee.
I encourage him to go off and play - he'll maybe venture a few feet away, grab a toy and bring it back to play with/beside me.
He is fine at more structured groups (Gymboree, Monkey Music) - loves joining in with the singing etc and has a lovely time. He loves going to the park, feeding the ducks, playing football, looking at trains...he's a bright, happy, loving little boy but I just feel so paranoid about his inability/reluctance to join in at toddler sessions. I have also convinced myself that he'll hate school (when the time comes) - be unable to make friends/join in etc...etc... (crazy I know)
Has anyone else experiened this? Any advice? Do I just avoid these groups and focus on the activites that he enjoys, or persevere with them in the hope of improving his social skills?
School is a long way off! - he's still so little and a busy toddler group prob seems quite overwhelming for him.
You may find over time that he gets less clingy, or you could try a quieter group that he might find easier.
FWIW I was at toddlers with DD this morning (she is 2.8yrs) and she was clinging like a limpet . She's been going to this group since birth and was fine before the holidays but is going through a bit of an insecure patch. Hopefully she'll come through it with a bit of reassurance...
2 out of 3 of mine were like this. They became extremely independent by school age, and now my 15 year old has travelled to France and the US on his own. Don't worry; some of them are like this and it always feels like it is only your own kids who have a "problem".
some children are like this -toddler groups can be very busy and overwhelming - I wouldnt worry- have you tried having a couple of children round -with their mums of course - to your house and see how he cope with that?
He is better at smaller, quieter groups (or if other children come to the house) but still gets upset if the other children invade his space (as toddler/babies tend to do!) or of they knock/bump him. He'll sometimes try to engage other DC in a game (passing a ball is his current fave) but then gets upset when they run off with it or whatever.
I hope he'll become more independent over time and it's really reassuring to know others have done as they got older.