Monday, June 8, 2009

My Child Won't Participate!

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.


bridget in oregon said...

Great post, Teresa! So true!

HausFrau said...

I have one of the "stare-ers". She'll just stand there, seeming overwhelmed, but she does all the actions and begs me to sing the songs with her when we get home! And she keeps asking when we get to see Miss Teresa again. ;)

Lisa said...

Hi Teresa,

Thanks for all of your effort for storytime! My daughter, Audrey, loves going, but a lot of times just stands there. I've found that when I do the songs and rhymes with her at home and she learns them, then she is so proud of herself when she remembers them at storytime. She always has a great time! So thanks again, and your blog is fantastic, too!


Strauss House said...

I agree that the group size plays a big part. My (almost) 2 year old Cade wavers back and forth between just "lapping" it up and getting right in on the action - in retrospect I think shear numbers had to do with it. Great blog - we love story time!

Native American Momma said...

As soon as we get in the car and the radio starts Autumn starts doing hand motions. If the music doesn't start she asks for me to turn it on. They are so funny.