Socialization is the most over-used term in the parenting world-and early childhood education world-these days…and often the most misinterpreted. We stay-at-home moms are not depriving our children of proper socialization, we are actually providing the best form of it.
Most parents think that they NEED to engage their infant-through-preschool child in playgroups, enroll their child in daycare centers, or host playdates at their home in order to socialize their child. I truly believe that the playdates and playrgroup options above are great, when done in moderation, but they are by no means necessary to raising a competent child.Are you a human being? Do you interact with your child? Then, I am happy to tell you, you are socializing him!
The impact of exposure to negative behavior is greater than we think. Those of us who socialize our children with other children at playdates, etc. know that sometimes our children follow the wrong lead, or make a bad choice many times.
I am a firm believer in socialization with adult supervision and exposure to many new situations and experiences while you can be present to observe and interject when necessary. This gets the bad rap of being considered ‘helicopter parenting’, but up to a certain age, it is necessary.
How do I as a stay-at-home mom ensure my child has enough socialization?
1.My children often go to doctor’s appointments with me.
They have to learned to sit quietly, occupy themselves, and support their mom. They are not perfect angels when they first have to sit in their infant seat or stroller in an appointment, but over time they do learn patience. I bring along toys, books or we walk around the waiting room. Parenting is not always easy, but teaching life lessons requires hard work. Yes, I have had children throw a tantrum in the exam room. One child cried in his infant seat while the doctor was examining me, but once the doc was done, I took my son out and he was fine.
At one clinic, I was told not to bring my small children-my nursing infant went with me anyway. I am normally a rule-follower, but we as parents have to stand up when the rules get in the way of our parenting. I did not have a babysitter, my husband was home with the older one and I was not able to pump anything since my second child breastfed almost constantly. It was what we needed to do. (That clinic has since stopped asking parents of young children to leave their children at home.)
We have to recognize as a society when adult intolerance of children’s needs are harmful and not helping in the long-term!
3. My children go with me to run errands.
Talk about teaching waiting and patience skills! They go to the post office. (That even teaches me more patience!) They go to the car repair place and the pharmacy…they are exposed to so many new situations and learn how to act in each one.
Do you want a two-year-old teaching your two-year-old how to act? Or would you like to be the one to do that?Preschoolers are capable of learning how to share and pay attention to others’ feelings, but before then, we parents need to interact and teach.
Other ways you help your child be “socialized”:
Enjoy your time at home!