What if my child does not want to participate, and prefers to wander around?
Don’t worry, it is okay and normal if your child is not engaged in an activity right away. There are several reasons how come some children are not as engaged in an activity as others:
- A new activity.
- New setting and friends.
- Age (a 2 year old will not have the attention span to listen to a long story. AND do keep in mind that every child grow at a different rate as mentioned on previous post).
- Prefer to observe before participating
As an educator, I believe the best we can do is to encourage a child to participate, if that does not work, then I do not suggest forcing a child to do the activity (art or fitness or listen to a story). Imagine a sales person is trying to convince you to buy their product, when you know that you are not ready to do so until you’ve done some research. Same goes for a child, he / she will participate when he / she feels comfortable. Just because a child is not painting or dancing like the rest of the group, it does mean mean he or she is not paying attention. While other children are playing, painting, or dancing, the child may be observing and /listening and/ exploring the environment. One day out of the blue, your child will surprise you by walking over to the art table, and picking up a paint brush to paint!
It is important that your child has a positive experience in class or in a playgroup, and wants to return on a regular basis. It is okay if your child wanders the room to explore the environment because he or she is curious. A child must feel comfortable with the educator as well. Just remember, we do not want a child to start disliking an activity and not wanting to return to class. When a child feels comfortable in a setting, he /she will gradually participate in an activity. If the child only chooses to sit with the group during snack time, then that is an accomplishment! Snack time is a great way for kids to socialize. If your child meets a friend who loves art, then your child may wish to join art class next time.
In a Mom and Tot Program, it is okay if your child is not engaged in music or art like other children. Try doing a puzzle or a quiet activity with your child until the class transitions to another game. Allow the child to explore his or her environment as long has he/she is not disrupting the class. If your child likes being in the room although not participating yet, this is a good sign.
With time and patience, you will be surprised!