Sometimes parents seem disappointed or confused when their child won't participate at Toddler Time. Their child might be excited to go, but once there, he or she just wants to sit on mom's lap and watch. Mom (or dad) says, "Why should I bring him when he doesn't want to do anything? Isn't it a waste of time?" To which I say a resounding "No!"
There can be a number of reasons why little Johnny or Susie (or is it Jacob and Emily?) just want to watch. Some kids just aren't into crowds. Lots of adults are that way - small groups of people, great. Big groups, let's go home! So when you show up and 30 other toddlers join you, it might be just plain intimidating. Can you come at a time when the crowd isn't so big?
Maybe you're new to Toddler Time. In that case, your child may want to take some time to figure it all out. I've known little ones who need six or eight weeks to finally feel like they understand what's going on and feel ready to participate. Be patient.
The funny thing is, some kids do feel like they're participating when they stand in the middle of the floor and stare. One adorable little boy happily trots into the room, runs right up to me and stares into my face. I say hi, he says hi. He might even try to tell me something, but I haven't quite mastered his language, though I know it's english. The program starts and there he stays, planted in one spot, watching me intently for the next half hour. He never sings the songs, does the motions, or shakes the maraca in his hand. Yet if you could ask him, I'm sure he'd say he was participating.
But here's the important thing: all these kids are getting valuable input. The language, the rhyme, the patterns, the music, it's all registering in their brains and making connections. One mom told me that her child never seems to want to take part, but the minute she gets home little Maddie starts singing the songs and talking all about everything that happened at Toddler Time.
It's making a difference. It's just not measured by how perfectly Jacob does The Eentsy Weentsy Spider.