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when do children need to start spending time with other children?

(15 Posts)
mollysmum82 Fri 03-Dec-10 15:27:47

I applied to go back to teaching part time after having my daughter but my request got turned down. I now tutor at weekends and mark exam papers but pretty much I'm a SAHM. I've been quite surprised at the reaction of my friends to this, mainly at their concern for DD socially. They often make comments such as "are you not worried she won't be socialising with other children if she doesn't go to nursery?" sometimes they say "well as long as you go to all the toddler groups she'll be okay". I just wanted to know others views on this? My daughter is 15 months old - how often do you think it is important for her to socialise with other children?

Many thanks!

CuppaTeaJanice Fri 03-Dec-10 15:33:31

I think it's essential from birth, to be honest, or at least from 3-4 months when they start to notice each other more.

At 15 months, I would say the minimum she should be with other children is a couple of times a week. But it doesn't have to be at nursery - toddler groups, even going for a coffee with a friend who has a child of a similar age will be fine.

smallwhitecat Fri 03-Dec-10 15:34:07

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cat64 Fri 03-Dec-10 15:46:41

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smallwhitecat Fri 03-Dec-10 15:49:06

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MoonUnitAlpha Fri 03-Dec-10 15:50:51

I wouldn't worry about it til she's 2 or 3 - I worked in nurseries and to be honest the under-2s get more out of their relationships with adults than other children. Somewhere between 2 and 3, depending on the child, they start to get a lot more out of playing with their peers.

MoonUnitAlpha Fri 03-Dec-10 15:52:17

Some children don't go to nursery at all, just start school at 4, and it does no harm.

defineme Fri 03-Dec-10 15:55:21

People feel unnecessary guilt for a lot of different reasons about going to work and putting children in nursery. To get over this they convince themselves that it is for the child's benefit. They try and convince everyone else that does it differently that they are doing it the best way.
Your child's best friend is you up to the age of 3. Obviously you both need to get out of the house, but any age group to socialise with will do it.
My twins didn't start preschool until they were 31/2 and were fine and then it was only 2 mornings a week. My eldest went to nursery 5 days a week and is fine too.
I'm sure you're not on your own everyday, but a day or 2 just the 2 of you is lovely.

You have just been an unwitting victim of the wohm vs sahm argument. Why they can't see that most kids turn out fine under most circumstances I don't know!

smallwhitecat Fri 03-Dec-10 15:55:46

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harecare Fri 03-Dec-10 16:02:58

Children do not socialise well with other children until around 2/3 years. I assume you talk to her? So she will learn social skills from you. You probably get out to the odd group and see friends with children so she'll see how you socialise with them and she will start to observe what they do and play with them in her own good time.
I've been a childminder observing children in my own home and at playgroups. My minded children were more likely to do their own thing at playgroup and play with each other at my home. Being in a larger space with more children is nice, but does not make children play with one another - until they are about 2.5/3

hels71 Fri 03-Dec-10 16:15:28

my DD is now just over 3.From birth we met up with 3 friends with children the same age. We also did sing and sign until she was 2.Apart from that she did not go anywhere until this Septemeber when she turned 3. She settled straight into preschool sessions with ease...and I have been told she is one of the best at playing with other children and socialising.... I would not worry as long as she sees other children sometimes..and it's totally fine it it's with you.

dikkertjedap Fri 03-Dec-10 20:43:27

During the first few years children learn from the main adult(s) in their life, not other children. Children until about 3-4 do not socialise! They are very self-centred and they need to be, this is how they learn so much in these initial years. It is a good thing not a bad thing! From about 3-4 years socialising becomes more important. My dd was not very interested in socialising until she started school at 4 but then she blended in from day 1 to great amazement of the staff (they had warned me that they expected problems (detachment, socialising etc etc) as she had never been to pre-school. Well, it was the right time for her and she loved it. Now she is in reception and she has taken everything in her stride and loves it. There are quite a few children in her class who did go to pre-school at an early age and they are still crying their eyes out at drop off. So spend as much quality time with her, do nice things together and also do your own things (she might be able to 'help' you) and try not to worry about all those things people tell you. Also, there are quite a few good child psychology books on the market if this interest you. Good luck.

mollysmum82 Sat 04-Dec-10 13:54:10

Aw thanks everyone, you've reassured me! I'd say about 3 days a week its just the two of us, then other weekdays we do the odd toddler group, music class or see friends with kids. At weekends hubbie is back so we have family time or see friends/family with our without kids.

harecare Sat 04-Dec-10 21:54:01

Sounds perfect!

pozzled Sat 04-Dec-10 22:06:31

"Children until about 3-4 do not socialise!"

I have to disagree with this comment. I don't think it's essential for toddlers to spend loads of time with other children, and a nursery-type set-up certainly isn't the best thing for all children.

But I do think that they should spend time with their peers from a fairly young age, just a couple of mornings a week as the OP describes sounds fine.

My DD is 2.3. She has two 'best friends' who she has seen an average of once or twice a week since she was a couple of months old. Of course at first it was all about support for the mums- but now the toddlers really are friends. They get so excited when they are told they are going to see the others, they recognise each others' houses if we walk past. When they're together they share toys, hug and kiss each other spontaneously, try to offer comfort if one gets upset, have the occasional 'disagreement'... I know that they could and would learn these skills at a later date, but I get annoyed when people seem to suggest that there are no benefits from socialising at this age!

OP- IMO you shouldn't feel any pressure at all to put your DD in a childcare setting, but I do think you should continue to go to toddler groups and see friends etc- just as you have been doing.

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