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Sensitive DS and group activities

(11 Posts)
ClaireBlair Mon 02-Jul-07 03:30:41

DS is 19mths and very shy/sensitive in group situations. I went along to a Jumping Beans open day and he clung to me and whimpered most of the time. When I did persuade him to try one of the activities he would get scared off when other children came along, bigger OR smaller. He has only been walking a couple of months and appears intimidated by other kids. How do I work on his confidence and also get him developing his gross motor skills if he's too shy to try ?

hippmummy Mon 02-Jul-07 06:47:42

Hi Claire - my advice, as he is so young, is not to worry about it. He's still practically a baby and if he is clingy then just let him cling. His confidence will grow by knowing he has you as a back up!

As for helping his motor skills, try getting him to practice at home with just you around. Get him used to climbing on and off chairs by himself, up and down steps etc. As he gets more confident he'll probably feel better about doing activities with other children around.

Smithagain Mon 02-Jul-07 13:07:59

Don't feel pressurised into pushing him to do things he doesn't want to do. Every child is different. But don't hide at home either. Go out, but stay close to him when he needs you.

Maybe review the sort of group situations you put him in. Find things that are not too "full-on".

DD1 was a very nervous toddler, extremely reserved in social situations and used to find a quiet corner to watch what was going on. I realised when she was about 3 that she actually didn't like the group of toddlers we had been socialising with most (my antenatal group). They were all a lot more boisterous than her and she felt intimidated - although she never actually said so.

We reluctantly stopped seeing them and found some more mellow friends, which helped her a lot. Also starting nursery, and then school, has really brought her out of herself.

She is nearly five now and has blossomed so much, confidence-wise. Still one of the quiet ones, but willing to give all sorts of things a go.

Flowertop Mon 02-Jul-07 16:38:13

CB you could be describing my DS1 at exactly the same age, particuarly the 'intimidated by other kids' feeling. He is nearly 9 and would say that he has grown in confidence as the years have gone on. Although he isn't one of the 'boys' and will back off if things get too rough. The biggest thing I have learnt is to let him be and don't push. The more you push them into being what you want the more disappointed you will feel.

funkimummy Mon 02-Jul-07 16:52:21

Hi, I agree with Flowertop. My DS is 4, nearly 5 and still gets intimidated by othe children. He's much more confident now than he was at your DS's age (he used to cling to me like your DS does now.) He will grow in confidence, remember confidence is a learned skill and not necessarily one you're born with. DD on the other hand, is feisty and loud and wants to be centre of attention. Then she does have an older brother to aspire to, so I guess that's why she is like she is.

ClaireBlair Tue 03-Jul-07 01:59:59

Thanks everyone, I will just have to take his lead. He seems to be fine in small groups where he knows the other kiddies but anywhere there are older kids running around he is quite timid. Nice to know he's not unusual though.

Callisto Tue 03-Jul-07 09:21:38

My DD (2.4) is very similar - extremely clingy and shy in group situations. If you want to help him develop motor skills I recommend Tumbletots. It is fun and my DD loves it but I had to persevere and allow her to do everything in her own time.

Smithagain Tue 03-Jul-07 12:27:58

I'd second the idea of Tumbletots. Our local one is not particularly boisterous and they are in quite narrow age groups, so he'd be with other toddlers. Over 2s are in a different group.

It's been fantastic for DD2's motor skills.

Actually, it's been a bit too good - she reckons she can balance on anything now ......

ClaireBlair Tue 03-Jul-07 20:57:18

I am not in the UK so we don't have tumbletots here
I went along to the YMCA as they have a toddler-gym type thing but the woman suggested I wait til the term after next as DS has only been walking a couple of months.

Smithagain Wed 04-Jul-07 12:22:32

Sounds like a good plan. DD2 also walked at 17 months so was way behind some of her peers in terms of physical confidence. But she has made up for it since then. She's 23 months now and a great little walker and climber.

Have you got any countryside/parks near you where you can make sure he gets some physical play, without having to deal with other kids?

Acinonyx Wed 04-Jul-07 13:50:19

We call dd the velcro baby because in company she is stuck to my body. She is OK in small groups that she knows and some places we go regularly (indoor soft play parks) but I dropped gymbabes/tumbletots because the class was too short for her to settle and do anything. I don't think it's about physical maturity as dd is a big strong child and was earlyish with all that - crawling at 5.5 mo, walking at 11 mo. It's just her nature. She's fantastically shy and hardly speaks to anyone but us. Recently though (she's nearly 2) she has started asking for her regular toddler friends so she does actually like other children - just not too many. We went to friends 2 yr-old's bday party and we couldn't put her down for over an hour - she was too overwhelmed.

I think she is getting a bit less shy now but I suspect she will always be a shy, quiet child. If you have any parks or indoor soft play places (the kind with plenty of climbing and slides and stuff) where you can settle for a while, maybe with some other toddler friends (or not - we go on our own too) they are great for physical workouts. Only thing is at this age and being so shy you have to go around everything with them so it's quite a workout for mommy too. Jill

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