Prior to having kids, I thought being a stay at home mom was the dream. Don’t get me wrong, I’m still very blessed and grateful to be able to stay home with my babies. I loved watching my daughter blossom and grow into the little girl she is today, and I’m just as happy to watch my little son as he discovers new skills. As my daughter grows older, her sassiness grows as well. She’s starting to challenge everyone and everything. I know this is a normal toddler behavior, and I’m doing my best to engage with her without engaging with the tantrums, screaming and other unpleasant behaviors that seem to have recently taken over.
I try my hardest to get her involved with community programs and events. We are lucky to have access to library programs, early years programs, preschools, gymnastics and so much more. Now that she is three, I’m researching to see what programs would be a good fit for her in order to develop some skills that she is struggling with. She needs to continue practicing gross motor skills, and with that grow her confidence. Most of the free programs are parent assisted which means I stay while she plays. The problem is when I’m there she doesn’t engage with other children and is seriously lacking in social skills.
I’m hoping that enrolling her in a class will help build her confidence, which in turn will help her find this confidence to engage with other children and not stick to me like glue. When she was a year old, I started a home daycare with three other kids. These children became friends with my daughter, and she was beginning to develop her social skills. When I neared my due date with my son, I closed the daycare down. It was supposed to be temporary but it ended up being more of a permanent thing. It was great for my daughter and I to bond with my son, but all the big changes that came with adding a new familiar member sent my daughter right back into her little cozy cave she created for herself. My husband calls her a “shy-a-saurus.”
Within the last few weeks, she’s started engaging and playing with the other children during gymnastics. She still has the security of me (and often grandma) while we are there, but she is observing and trying to engage with other children her own age for play. I couldn’t be more thrilled. This is exactly what I wanted for her and she did it all on her own. It just required love, and consistent exposure to the other children in a comforting environment.
I guess what I can take away from this is that children all learn at their own pace. I should’ve known this, seeing as working with young children is what I did for a living. I suppose I maintain a bias toward my own child, and by having her constantly around I am numb to what others may observe. She is thriving, she is healthy, she is smart and she is sweet. My ultimate goal is to raise a well rounded, loving person and so long as I continue to provide her with the support she needs, I think I will meet that goal.