Toddler resisting group learning activities?
May 12, 2014 2:36 PM Subscribe
My daughter (age 3.75) is having trouble with teacher-led, group activities. She doesn't want to follow the instructions and tends to quit and wander off. I'm not sure what the problem is.
posted by kitcat to Grab Bag (14 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I'm noticing that my daughter doesn't handle teacher-led activities in a group very well. I'm thinking specifically about the gymnastics we tried at 3.5 and now, soccer. The basic scenario is that, after checking with her several times over several weeks to make sure she's interested in the activity, enroll in the activity. She seems very excited about going. Once it starts, she might be ok for about 10 minutes, but soon she's ignoring teacher instructions and me as I implore her to listen to the teacher. She's asking to be picked up (I gently refuse) and then wandering off away from the group (with excuse, for example, to get a drink of water or pet a nearby dog). With gymnastics, I figured she was just too young for such a formal activity (even thought the other kids seemed to be able to pay attention and follow along). But seeing the same type of behavior with the soccer, I feel concerned now. I let her bow out for a while and said 'Ok, we'll stay over here until you're ready to go back'. I could get her to go back to the group for maybe a couple of minutes, but then she'd want to leave again. After several rounds of this, I told her OK, you can stay here but Daddy and I are going to play. She'd eventually whine and chase after us, but wouldn't stay with the group unless she was on Daddy's shoulders. She's missing out on having fun, learning to follow instructions and putting herself out there to try something new.
I'm afraid it might be a sort of 'the adult in charge has to consider me special before I'll participate' stubborness going on here. One thing that's common to the gymnastics and the soccer is that there is no 'you are a special snowflake' encouragement going on. And if that's it, I feel that I have to help her overcome it. I'm afraid I was a bit like this as a child and it didn't do me any good in life. She gets plently of 'special snowflake' appreciation from me and her nana and her daycare (Dad doesn't undulge her in this so much). Now, there's a fair chance I'm overreacting and/or projecting my own issues on to her - I'm sure you'll help point that out if it seems to be the case. But if you could offer suggestions on how to encourage her to listen to and learn from the teacher and conform to the planned activity for 45 minutes, that would be helpful. Or books are a great subtle teaching tool for her.
About my daughter: She thrives at daycare and I think she is a darling of the teachers there. She seems very confidant. She is high-energy but can certainly sit through a half hour of story-reading or an hour movie. She enjoys her one-on-one piano lessons (I know what you're thinking; it's mostly colouring!) and didn't do any wandering away when we did a Music Together class over the winter. She is not an introvert. She loves people and she loves having the attention of adults, especially.