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!
I totally needed this today – thank you.
As a social skills teacher, I feel this negates the importance of children to interact with each other and learn how to problem solve among their peer group. They’re going to constantly be around individuals you may not want them acting like. If you shelter them from this, you are not teaching them how to handle it. Peer influence has more effect than adult influence.
At a certain age I would agree with you on the interacting with peers part. Toddlers don’t need peer interaction. Children who have learned HOW to interact need peer interaction. We are releasing our children into peer social situations too early in my opinion. Parental influence is never trumped by peer influence if we parents are present, firm and clear with our expectations. Do we choose to follow peers over our parents at certain stages? Yes. But, even in my teen years I knew that certain choices were not appropriate and chose differently because I knew my parents would be upset if I did them. Children will make choices we parents do not like, but remaining set in our parenting plan will teach through those stages and help our children learn as they become adults.
What if you live in the middle of no where and there are no other kids around?? Town is over 35 min away.what then? How do u get your kids together with other kids when you know nobody with children that likes you? The tow I live near discrimination is all over expecaly if you are not from one of the rich familys
Jaimi Erickson says
The article clearly states that parent-child socialization is much more important (in my experiences and opinion) than child-child socialization. My parents are still my life-long friends. My peers come and go often, but my parents are always there to support, guide and love. I would not worry about it if you are providing a loving home to your child. Often socializing with their peers teaches our children the wrong behaviors, unfortunately.
My second child is due on April 4, 2014, and I currently have an 18-month old son who attends a daycare center as my husband and I both work full time. I am quitting my job after my next baby is born. I was having doubts about taking my son out of the daycare center as I thought he would not be 'sociable' if he was at home with me every day. I loved reading your article. The things you stated really make sense and have made me feel so much better about the decision I am making to stay at home to raise my children. Thank you!
That makes me feel so happy for you! What a great opportunity for your children to have more time with you. I hope it all goes well. I appreciate you sharing! It is amazing what children learn "just" by being home with us. They are little sponges! Enjoy!
I needed this today. Thank you.
I am glad that it could be helpful. Take care and thanks for sharing your thoughts!
Wmh Adword says
Thanks for sharing Interesting post.Great job!! You have a nice blog for Preschool . I will be back alot Good luck with all you do!
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Thank you. I appreciate you taking the time to leave such a nice comment. Take care!
Could not have said it better myself!
Thanks, Lani! I appreciate you taking the time to share your thoughts.
I love this post! So many of my own thoughts are in there! Thank you! 🙂
Thank you for your kind comment. I am glad that you connected with it. It is a controversial topic. I appreciate you taking the time to comment.