Ask the Mamas: How do I Socialize My Little One?

Each week we will ask our mamas a question from our readers that pertains to babies, toddlers, or parenting. Make sure to check back each Tuesday to see their responses!

Do you have a question you’d like to ask the mamas? If so, send us an email with your question to askthemamas@mamasaywhat.com.

 

Mama Say What reader Emily asks:

I’m a stay at home mama and am looking for ways to help socialize my little one. What types of activities can I look into? Are there different suggestions you would make based on age? What has your experience been with socializing activities (i.e., positive or negative)?

When I was home with my little men during my maternity leave, I wanted to make sure Landon didn’t feel cooped up at home so I signed up for a weekly story time at our local library. It was a great way for me to get out, and I felt like Landon received some much needed time with other little ones out of the house. Check out your local library and see whether they have a free story time (most do)! ~Corey P.

This has been a tough one for us since we moved away from our family and friends, and I’m kind of anti-social and haven’t made any friends. Before we moved, TJ and I often got together with a handful of mamas whom I met in our childbirth class. We would get together and chat while our kids, who were all born within two months of each other, played. Since we have moved out of the area, I SO miss that interaction with like-minded mamas and I know TJ misses his friends.

During the warmer months in Utah, we walk to the park a lot or we drive to one of a lot of local parks where I let TJ play with whatever kids are there. Aside from me actually making some mama friends or joining a church, the park and the play areas at the mall are pretty much the only options we have that are free. In the winter, or if it’s super hot outside, we will sometimes go to the indoor playgrounds at our local fast food restaurants. My son is three, and a super active kid, so we’ve never tried any library activities, but it’s on my to-try list.

In February, he started taking a tae kwon do class one evening a week and he adores it! We’re looking at either upping that to twice a week or looking at swim lessons for the summer. Aside from the social interaction, he will hopefully learn how to follow directions and focus a little better. Next fall, we hope to enroll him in part-time preschool, so I know that will help too. ~Alex T.

After my daughter was born, I tried to get out and socialize as much as possible. In Ontario, we have something called the Ontario Early Years Centre, and they host tons of free programs during the week. I was doing something almost every day. As she got older and required a more set sleep schedule, I found that I had to cut back a lot on what I could do with her during the day. I basically picked one or two things that I really enjoyed and stuck with them. For me, that was going to La Leche League meetings and having play dates at my house and my mama friends’ houses.

Now that she is 19 months old, I want to get Anna out more, and I am really looking forward to spring and summer! This summer is going to be really great because she will really be able to enjoy the parks and splash pads!

I am currently looking into joining a drop-in play group that one of my mama friends is in. It is less than a 20 minute drive for me, which is a huge bonus! It does cost money, about $60 for a membership from September until June. There is also another great program that I am involved with, called Life with a Baby. They also host free programs for mama and baby! ~Jessica S.

 

When I was on maternity leave, there were quite a few other women I knew who were on leave too. We formed a mama group of about eight or nine, and got together once a month just to hang out and let the kids be together. When C was old enough, we also signed up for swim lessons… which was a blast, by the way! It was with a totally different group of mamas and babes, which was great. Not only did C meet new people, I did as well. I think that socializing is SO important. It helps your child become comfortable around other adults and children. ~Kathy S.

I’m a working mama, but I sometimes wish I was home to participate in local playgroups, “Toddler Time” at my local library, and weekly programs at places such as the zoo, botanical garden and children’s museum. My daughter is almost two years old, and while we have visited all of the above mentioned places, it is on the weekend when it’s the most crowded and she gets antsy in large crowds. I have joined, and left, many groups on “Meetup.com”, I’ve had good experiences, but you just never know if it’s going to work out. I find that when new groups start, they’re strong with lots of participation and it slowly dwindles down until people just stop showing up. I’ve also found that established groups can sometimes have a hard time accepting a new member. I still always jump at the opportunity to join a new group because I’m optimistic. ~Debbie F.

I am horrible with this. Most people won’t believe me, but I do have a shy streak… and meeting new mamas can scare the bejeesus out of me – especially when you know that there are those out there that judge, and the stinkin’ “Mommy Wars.” I don’t want to deal with that. We do have friends who have kids that we make play dates with. Some of them include some of the awesome mamas and kiddos of MSW. We also get out of the house often to run errands, and N loves to socialize with the adults and other kids wherever we are. Heck, today he played a game of peek-a-boo with another guest at Target (and he loves Target almost as much as I do… is it bad when he knows where the book section is?).

We have tried to make it to things at the local library, but it has always been at an inconvenient time or I have forgotten, etc. Fortunately, N is really great in a social setting. He loves his friends, loves to give hugs and kisses. He shares pretty well for a two-year-old. We are looking into preschool for him in the coming months, because now he really is ready to socialize more. I know he will love that… and I will love the quiet time I will get to work or do whatever else needs to be done around the house. ~Cari H.

I don’t really have much advice on this one, as I work a full-time, eight to five job during the week and have a hard time with this. Before our second child was born, our daughter was going to daycare twice a week to be socialized with others her age. Now that our son is here, their grandmother has been watching them everyday until he gets a little bit older, then we’ll most likely start adding the daycare twice a week again. It’s hard at this point to find time to be able to do the extras, and I wish it was more of a possibility. I do try to bring Emma out with me to meet up with friends and their children once in awhile, and she does play with her older cousins throughout the week. But otherwise, I haven’t been able to do much with playgroups or anything of that sort. ~Sam A.

 

The advice given here is solely based on our individual experiences and in no way is it going to be perfect for every mama, every baby, and every situation. None of us are medical doctors. If you have a question regarding a medical topic we can give our opinions, but please consult with your doctor. We are not liable or responsible for the results of following any specific advice in any given situation.

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