A local dance school offered a 3-week, 2x week class for preschoolers - an intro to ballet, tap, creative movement. This is the first activity we’ve enrolled DD (4) in aside from daycare. She’s not a very social kid and takes a long time to warm up to other people so I figured this would be a nice way to get her more comfortable around others.
She seems to have fun. She likes the outfits and shoes, happily gets ready for class, goes right into the classroom without complaint. It takes some coaxing to get her to actually tell us what she did in class once we pick her up (“I don’t remember!”) but she eventually shows us some of the steps she learned.
She’s never said she’s scared or doesn’t like it. The teacher has classes immediately before and after hers, so there’s no opportunity to ask her if DD is enjoying it, and there isn’t any way for parents to watch the class. Which is just as well because DD gets very clingy with us around new people so if we were in her sight I’m sure she wouldn’t participate.
I thought we’d sign DD up for another round of classes in the fall. But whenever I ask her she says no, or “next summer I’ll do it.” Or “I just want to stay home with you and Daddy.” She does this a lot, where she clearly enjoys herself with a certain activity or a new friend but then says she doesn’t want to do it again when we ask her if she liked it or wants to continue. I believe the next session lasts three months.
So, do I sign her up for more classes, knowing she’ll enjoy them? Do I do what she says? I’m trying to find the line between respecting her wishes, vs getting her to socialize more and step out of her comfort zone. I got pushed into sports as a kid and hated it, and my parents very frequently steamrolled me when I told them I didn’t want to do something, so I don’t want to push her or send the message that her opinions and feelings mean nothing. But I also don’t think it does her any good to stay at home and only socialize with me and MH and the same handful of loved ones over and over.
Post by plutosmoon on Jul 21, 2021 21:22:59 GMT -5
Maybe pick 2-3 activities that you'd think she'd enjoy and present it as a choice. "DD, we are picking one activity for fall, would you like to do dance, soccer or gymnastics?" You get her socializing with other kids in an activity and she makes the "decision" as to what she wants to do. This does make you do a bit of extra work to find something else for her to pick from, but I think if you present it as a choice of which activity, rather than would you like to do this one activity, she will probably pick something. If she still doesn't pick something when trying that approach, or you don't have other good options, I think I'd still sign her up. She has seemed to be enjoying it so far, it's 3 months so the time commitment is pretty short and you can always stop if she seems to really start to dislike it.
E1 has done gymnastics classes, baseball camp, golf camp, soccer, etc. I can ask him immediately after what they did and he will shrug his shoulders, "I don't know." He acts like he doesn't want to do anything or go, but he always says he has fun when he does go. Today, I watched him at baseball camp without him realizing I was there early to pick him up. He was smiling and laughing and high fiving other kids. Yet he cried this morning at dropoff, said he wanted to stay home with me.
He has always been this way. He would prefer to stay home and watch tv all day, always. But he does have fun at his activities once he is there. Gymnastics was the exception. There were many classes where he cried throughout, refused to go in, or would cry and cry on the way. That was the only activity that we quit.
I really wouldn't sweat it. If she isn't that into it, I'd just try something else (unless you love the studio and it works out great for your schedule). I'd pick like one thing that works for your schedule that your kid seems semi-interested in doing. I actually think 2x/week is too much for a 4 year old. Just once would be fine.
FWIW, the only thing I wish I'd stuck with earlier is swimming. It's always been important to me but was hard to fit in. It just gets harder as they get older. If anything, I'd emphasize swim (assuming it's not a total disaster) with a little kid before they have to get involved in other sports and activities.
At 4 I'm not sure I'd want to deal with a twice a week class. Are they during the week in the evenings? If you like it and she likes it, sure, but if there's hesitancy or just indifference, I wouldn't bother right now. There will be plenty of time later for her to get involved in something and have weeknights taken up. I would personally maybe just find one thing on the weekend if you want, or just wait all together. I think kids can seem to like something but still prefer that time was spent doing something with their parents or something else entirely, so she might be telling the truth on that.
Eh I wouldn’t push a 4 year old to do more if they didn’t want to. They have their whole life to do activities. I would do swim if they can’t swim yet.
Caveat- if they have no socialization at all, but mine were in daycare at that age. Will you be sending to preschool in August?
She’s going back to preschool in September, yes.
She does the same thing there, where she comes home and excitedly talks about what she and the other kids all day, and then suddenly says they’re not her friends or she doesn’t want to go back. Then the next day she skips into the room and we get photos on the app of her and the other kids playing away.
Post by expectantsteelerfan on Jul 22, 2021 9:33:56 GMT -5
Depends on the reason you signed her up in the first place. If you think dance is likely to be an ongoing interest of hers, I'd sign her up and not give her a choice until she's older. If you have other options and want to give her choices of an activity, that's a good idea too. If you don't care to push her to do more and don't feel like taking her to any other activities at the moment, that's no big deal either.
Thanks all - today was the last class in the month-long intro session and parents were invited into the dance room at the end of class. The kids sat in a circle and one by one they demonstrated a few steps. DD refused when it was her turn - she said later at home that she was shy in front of all the parents
We asked her at pickup and also a couple hours later if she had fun and she said yes. We then asked if she wanted to continue and she said no. We asked if she’d rather play soccer and she said both yes and no.
The dance teacher said she would email all of us about continuing classes in the fall if we want. It requires an in-person meeting so maybe we’ll all go together and see what both DD and the teacher say.
Again, I don’t want to push her into anything … but if it was up to her she’d stay home all day to play with me and MH and watch Bluey. She freezes up immediately around other people, even people she’s known forever, and I hate knowing that she’s uncomfortable. And frankly it’s a drag to take her to a loved one’s house or a play date and have her cling to us moping the entire time. I was a shy kid and I still have a very hard time socializing and making friends. It’s not a good feeling and I don’t want DD to have to deal with the same thing. I know I can’t and shouldn’t change her personality but I’m just trying to find little ways to get her more comfortable around other people.
If she's starting preschool in the fall, maybe there will be some kids she warms up to after a while that might be good friends for playdates. After a couple of months, you could ask the teacher if there are any kids she seems comfortable around and try to reach out to their parents.
It's so hard to know how much to push with shyness or just let kids be. Some encouraging can be helpful, but too much can have the opposite effect. I was really shy as a kid too, and my mom was always pushing me to be less shy which I think did more harm than good. There's really nothing wrong with being shy! I wish someone had told me that it's okay, and not to feel bad about it. I danced as a kid too, and I ended up just kind of sticking with it for a long time even though I didn't like it, especially performing. I liked parts of it, so if anyone asked me I'd say I liked it because that seemed like the right answer and what people wanted to hear, but I wish I had done some other activities. I'd probably sign her up for lots of things and see if there is anything she gets more excited about.
So it sounds like your DD does better when you aren't around. That was definitely my DD, too. When I was with her she would freeze up and cling to me. When I wasn't she was actually pretty outgoing. She's 10. She's still this way.
At 4 activities are more for you than for your kid. We did a ton of them at that age but that's because the structure was really good for her and DD hated being home (like me). She is not doing a single thing now that she did at 4 though. Her interests constantly evolved. Sign her up for something if you think she will benefit but certainly you don't need to. I do think activities are important but not until a later age. For your situation I would schedule playdates with her friends and give her practice socializing that way.
Post by maudefindlay on Jul 23, 2021 12:02:45 GMT -5
I don't think 4 yr olds have to do any activities except learning to swim. If she is doing preschool I think that is perfectly sufficient for socializing etc. Maybe try an activity in the spring with her input. Otherwise enjoy this time of fewer evening and weekend obligations as that will change.
I'm $1200 deep into karate since April (enrollment, uniform, gear, monthly fees) and DS (6) is starting to lose interest. With school starting in a few weeks I'm going to see if we can keep it going, but if he doesn't want to go without me nudging him, I'm going to stop. I need to get him and DS2 into swim lessons too, and it's all just a lot. (Time, money, driving, etc.)
If she's starting preschool in the fall, maybe there will be some kids she warms up to after a while that might be good friends for playdates.
She’s been at the same center since she was an infant, and they do a preschool program so she’s got one more year left until kindergarten. She does have fun there, which is great. We’ve tried to get play dates off the ground and it only happened a couple times - once was nice but then the family immediately moved away, and the other time was kind of a bust. It also seems like many of the other families are very friendly with each other, which doesn’t help my own already-crappy feelings on trying to make friends. And COVID also threw a wrench in our plans to reach out to a little girl DD was especially friendly with.
DD and MH are actually on a play date today with his coworker and their kid, which is nice. And I fully agree with the comment about how DD usually relaxes more when MH and I aren’t around. She’s also very wary of adult men, since she is mostly around women.
Thanks for weighing in. I know I’m unfairly projecting my own feelings of awkwardness onto DD. Dance class said they’d send more info about fall classes so I’ll see what they say and then figure it out from there.