We all want our children to be social and truth be told, we probably feel we do a lot already to keep them social. Today I wanted to look at a bit more critically at what we do and if there’s room for improvement; refocus and a little patting on the back.
Let’s look at some positive things we can do in 2012 to get our children ready for play in the 21st Century world.Look at the questions below and take a quick survey of your family.
who do they mix with?
Is there a diversity of race?
Do you mix with homeschoolers?
Have you met with unschoolers?
How would they ( and you) react to playing with children from a diverse class background? ( Often we don’t know until we try!)
Do they meet with meaningful adults like family or close friends regularly?
Are their opportunities for a group of same-sex children to meet together and play collaboratively? ( side by side or totally independently?)
Especially if you have same-sex children, do they mix on playdates and group settings with children of the opposite sex?
what do they see?
Can they learn tolerance and perseverance from older children?
Can they focus on restraint, patience and empathy with younger children?
Will they ever get to experience the fun of playing with twins?
Do they see children with disabilities and have opportunities to see them play and experience play with them?
Would they be able to identify a group of children as their best buddies?
Can you be sure at how they might react in unfamiliar settings with unfamiliar children? ( Have you tested it recently?)
Will our children have access to adults in various work situations earning various pay?
How do we share with our children how different children play around the world? and show them that what we do here probably isn’t what they do elsewhere. That’s not necessarily a bad thing or good thing but it’s something they should start appreciating in our global world.
how do you offer opportunities?
Not sure where to go try directories from parent forums and websites
Notice church groups as you drive around
Noticeboards and Craigslist
Word of mouth opportunities ask at libraries, Youth clubs, Education buildings, Doctors office
Ask on your social networks.
Things to watch….
Are we doing too much?
One on one play with our child ( Too much of anything isn’t good. Not enough isn’t good either. Letting them experience your presence and other people’s presence is essential for you both)
Socializing via shopping with them in their buggy (We need to go shopping. It’s not usually a good outlet for socialization, for them. We have to call it what it is shopping)
Food and play areas associating play with fast food ( It’s not whether it’s acceptable just if it’s the default or primary place for socialization. We all need variety!)
Consistently avoiding all playgroups due to a bad experience ( Not minimizing your experience. There are likely to be other playgroups. Try another one this week)
Worry that your child will grab, push,punch, kick another child or that these things will happen to them ( There’s lots of advice about solutions to these problems. Avoidance is only one way to deal with it. There are many others)
Fancy some more reading?
Socialization of homeschool children debated on Simple Homeschool Facebook page
Scientific American: The Serious Need for Play
Now you’ve identified an area….what are your first steps in getting your toddler 21 Century socialized?
Click here to read the rest of the posts in the series, 31 Days to a more Playful Tot.
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