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Have I made a mistake by staying at home with ds?

(36 Posts)
KleineMaus Thu 16-Oct-08 21:34:29

I'm a sahm of 2 yr old ds who's pretty clingy, and I'm starting to wonder if I've actually done him a disservice by staying at home with him rather than going back to work and having him in nursery. Until very recently we lived quite far from family and he was never left with anyone else. This also meant he didn't see his cousins much either and although we went to a toddler group he didn't have a lot of close contact with other kids. At the moment when I go and visit my parents he follows me around, hanging on to my skirt, and even though we see them at least once a week, it always takes him ages to be happy around them every time. I have the option to send him to playgroup a few mornings a week, which might help, but I'm not sure if he's ready for it. I think he would scream the place down if I left him. I also find I worry about whether I've done him out of fun at nursery as although I spend a lot of time with him, there's not much in the way of activities going on here, I don't know what to do with him for ten hours a day sometimes, but maybe that's another thread...

gothicmama Thu 16-Oct-08 21:36:21

it will do him good to socialise and will soon settle (although first couple of times can be traumatic - more so for mum tho)

fishie Thu 16-Oct-08 21:37:25

are there any other groups you could go to with him? storytime at library, that sort of thing. how come not much contact with others at toddler groups?

Plonker Thu 16-Oct-08 21:40:36

I think its more personality than anything KleineMaus. Some children are just like this, my dd1 was one of them ...they do grow out of it, saying that, my dd1 is still quite a home bird (she is 8).

I think he would possibly benefit from pre-school some time within the next year, but i wouldn't feel the need to rush into it. I would just keep taking him to toddler groups and other social things with you - he'll soon come around smile

KleineMaus Thu 16-Oct-08 21:44:15

fishie - we go to two different toddler groups and he's usually ok, but he does tend to go off in a corner and play by himself. I see other kids snatching things from each other or even hitting each other, and I can't imagine ds ever getting that close to another child (not that I'd want him to do those things). However, things might change...

mamaberta Thu 16-Oct-08 21:44:39

Look, nurseries etc are totally fine and many need/want them but it is never "wrong" to want to SAH with your own child. No one will ever care for him as well as you do. Take him to playgroups so he can see other kids but please don't leave him if he's miserable and you don't want to. I have nothing against nurseries (and am using a preschool now for DC1 aged 3) but I hate the prevailing wisdom that nurseries etc. are somehow "better at childcare" than parents hmm. It sounds like he might need you for a bit longer than some kids - that's fine. He will branch out when he's ready.

phdlife Thu 16-Oct-08 21:44:54

KleineMaus, my ds is the same - he's 18m and on the rare occasions we go to mummies' group he prefers to sit on my lap and play with baby toys, than to run round in the other room with the 2yo's. We go to the park all the time and if it's busy, he stares like they're all aliens, then goes to find a quiet corner far away from the play area, to happily eat gravel.

I figure it's his personality, and that he'll outgrow it - or not - as and when. It's not like his dad is a big joiner either.

KleineMaus Thu 16-Oct-08 21:47:04

I have noticed him starting to reach out to other kids, in a funny sort of way. If they come close to him he points at me and says 'mum' (sometimes in a slightly defensive way). Or he points at his shoe and says 'shoes', which other kids are totally unimpressed by. It's sweet, but makes me feel a little sad as it's not terribly successful. I've tried telling him to say hi to other kids, but he's not that confident yet.

phdlife Thu 16-Oct-08 21:49:47

ah, bless. I bet he watches everything though!

mamaberta Thu 16-Oct-08 21:53:36

Kids his age don't really play together. They play alongside. I think (happy to be corrected by a child psychologist) the socialising comes along in the second half of the third year. Their "conversations" are a scream. They don't know any of the conventions i.e. turn-taking. I think it's great that he is trying to reach out. I doubt any of the other kids say much meaningful. They are just sizing each other up. Not being good at small talk at age 2 is pretty normal smile

Anifrangapani Thu 16-Oct-08 21:55:26

I think it is more a personallity thing too. My Dh kept both kids at home until they got free places in nursery. DD was quite clingy and ds is very outgoing. They both had pretty much the same upbringing.

You will be pleased to know that as soon as dd started at school full time, aged 6 because we went travelling for 9 months, became really outgoing.

peasoup Fri 17-Oct-08 00:06:35

At that age they are very often not interested in other kids. They don't have "friends" till alot later often. My 2.11 yr old only recently started to be interested in others

ActingNormal Fri 17-Oct-08 00:27:43

You might find "Supernanny's" "off the hip" technique interesting (see her web page). It's like encouraging him to be more separate from you but giving him loads of reassurance. My therapist keeps saying to me about children play on their own for a bit then look around for Mummy and go to her for reassurance that everything is ok. If she acts reassuringly the child feels safe and confident to go off and play by his/herself for a bit again before wanting a bit of reassurance again. If the child doesn't get sufficient reassurance he/she can become clingy and insecure.

I find it so hard to know whether you are giving them enough attention or too much! Therapist thinks I should give mine more and that I didn't get enough as a child. My DS (3) does cry about every little thing though and I've started thinking about whether the thing he is crying about is worth crying over or not and if it really is trivial eg he has dropped his fork on the floor I just say something like "you don't need to cry about that, just pick it up and it will be ok" If he carries on crying after that I ignore him. If he is crying for something any average kid would cry about eg he has hurt himself then I give him loads of attention. My reasoning is that I need to teach him how to cope in the real world and if he is going to cry about every little thing he just won't be able to function. Sorry if I am rambling off the point, I've been out tonight and had a couple of drinks.

cory Fri 17-Oct-08 08:32:52

Dd was like this and has grown out of it. It took a while but she got there in the end. You may find he is more ready for playgroup when he gets nearer to 3.

mrsgboring Fri 17-Oct-08 09:31:06

As others have said, it's more personality than anything. They all go through clingy periods, some more than others. It is NOT something you've done. There is a substantial body of research suggesting that a nursery is not the best environment for an under 3 (especially boys)

I used to worry about this a bit too, as my DS also was very clingy. I went to loads of toddler activities and had friends round. He socialises pretty well for his age now. Also if there was one thing that stood out from my nervous examining of nursery kids attending toddler groups on days when their parents didn't work was that they were totally indistinguishable from the non-nursery and at home children in how they coped with a toddler group situation, new children etc. They aren't really ready to learn socialisation before about 2.5 or 3 (depending on child) so IMO they can't "transfer" the skills IYSWIM. To me that means that nursery doesn't give them a head start on this and you have no need to worry.

ByTheSea Fri 17-Oct-08 09:45:43

When my DD2 was two, I had worked part-time for over a year. I gave up work and spent the time with her and she was a very shy clingy two year old. It used to worry me a bit as she wouldn't leave my side at parent/toddler groups and Gymkins and Tumble Tots, which we did together. I sent her to preschool when she was 2 1/2 for just one session a week, gradually increasing to 5 sessions a week for the year before she started school. She loved it and over time she became less and less clingy, although still very loving and attached to me, and is now a supremely confident six-year-old. Lots of two year olds are clingy and this phase passes.

Seeline Fri 17-Oct-08 09:47:23

You have done your DS no harm by staying at home. I think it is a personality thing which makes them 'clingy' although this is only a child looking for reassurance and protection from its' mother. At two, he is still really only a baby. Agree with other posters that most children do not really start playing together in a meaningful way until 3+. Perservere with the toddler groups so that he has a chance to meet other children, but leave pre-school until you feel he is ready for it. He may find separating a bit hard at first, but a decent pre-school will be able to help you both settle in well, taking whatever time is necessary to achiev that goal.

Binkyboo Fri 17-Oct-08 11:50:14

Funny isn't it - we are all so hard on ourselves. I worry I have done my dd harm by working full time - she is so un-clingy that I sometimes think she wouldn't care if she never saw me again, I would secretly like her to scream when i leave the room!
Go easy on yourself, the grass is always greener

Twelvelegs Fri 17-Oct-08 11:52:32

Little children are in good company with Mummy, IMO. Just keep taking him to groups with you and when he's ready a playgroup would be great.

bundle Fri 17-Oct-08 11:54:08

it is partly personality but also environment plays a huge role

both my girls went to nursery from about 7 mths, 3 days a week and dd2 is much clingier than dd1, a real mummy's girl - but both were happy, settled and independent at nursery. I would do it all again the same way if I had the chance.

they are now 8 and 5, dd2 still a bit clingy at times and needs reassurance when she approaches new people/experiences.

bundle Fri 17-Oct-08 11:54:54

mrsboring the evidence on that is still v contradictory, please no nursery bashing! smile

snowleopard Fri 17-Oct-08 12:02:13

I do think sometime between 2-3, nursery may well probably be good for him (a good nursery, with low staff turnover where he can bond to his carers there) - for him to have a change of scene, interact with peers, do a range of activities etc and also get used to the kind of situation he will have at school (not to mention a break for you). But I don't think your choice has made him clingy - my DS is very clingy in phases on and off, and has been in nursery part-time since under a year old. I know clingy children and less clingy ones and there seems to be no correlation with whether they have a SAHM, WOHM, nursery or whatever else.

You could experiment with starting playgroup veyr gradually, saying with him at first, etc.

mumof2222222222222222boys Fri 17-Oct-08 12:14:15

I was a SAHM until DS1 was 3.5 and DS2 was 1.2. I then started full time work in March and now they are in nursery full time. We also moved house to a completely different area. They boys both love nursery although it took a month or so to get used to it. DS1 in particular was clingy as you describe and the change in him has been fantastic to see. He is a very happy confident liitle boy who (in a nice way) bosses the staff around and chats away to all and sundry. DS2 is a different character and it may be because of that, but he is much more open minded about most things, and perhaps that is due to nursery? It was a bit "all or nothing" with ours but I have no regrets about nursery.

mrsgboring Fri 17-Oct-08 13:23:10

Bundle, could you point me in the direction of evidence of positive effect of early day nursery? I haven't found any - and I did look as I wanted to send DS to nursery and tried two before giving up on the idea. Was dismayed by all the negative research I kept finding. (And took DS out after evidence of my own eyes with the two particular ones I tried)

Anna8888 Fri 17-Oct-08 13:26:38

Don't worry. My DD went through quite a fierce phase of wanting to be with me and know where I was when she was about 2 - they grow out of it.

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