My Two Year Old Hates Organized Classes. Now What?
Before I had a child of my own, I always looked at those parents who put their 1 year olds in classes as being manic, controlling, and a little bit silly. After all, what does a 1 or 2 year old get from a class that he doesn't get during playtime with his parents or play dates with friends? Well, I've now been a mom for two years, and my son Miles has been in some sort of class since he was 3 months old. I usually start with whatever free classes I can find - libraries, community centers, erc. - and then include a music class and some sort of activity class, like soccer. So, the first lesson I learned: never judge parents! We're all just trying to do the best we can, and most of have reasons why we do what we do. :) Lesson 2: never underestimate the value of Getting Out Of The House!! I started attending classes with miles mostly just to give us something to do. Sitting around a house all day everyday with an baby can get a little monotonous. Not that I don't love my son, but there are days when we both need outside stimulation and there are only so many activities I can think to do at home. When we attend our classes, Miles gets to mingle with other children while learning, I get to mingle with other moms - it's a win win.
The only problem is that Miles doesn't actually seem to like organized classes. He literally develops a different personality in class. At home he's adventurous, curious, and very very busy. At class, he's quiet and doesn't want to participate in much. I kept saying to myself that it would take time, and that with consistency he would get comfortable and start having fun. Well, over a year and half later, he still has pretty much the same reaction. Part of me feels like I need to keep forcing him to go - after all, he can't only be a free spirit running around the woods and jumping in the lake, pretty soon he will have to to school, so he needs to learn how to operate in an organized class setting, right? Then the other part of me says: hey, he's only 2! Let him be free, don't torture him for a class he doesn't reeaally need...
Maybe this seems like a trivial dilemma, but it has woken me up to the enormous decisions I will have to make for my son. One day when he's 18 and says he wants to skip college and be an artist, what will I say? Will I be able to raise my son with the right balance of what works for his personality and social norms? I guess that's just another joy of parenting - one of those things that I will work at and fail at and succeed at in the years to come.