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15 Apr 2003

toddler and play school
Hi, I don't know if I am asking the right person for advice, but maybe you can put my mind at rest.

My husband, 2 year old daughter and I have recently moved to J'burg from C.T. I was a journalist at a big city newspaper and worked full time, weekends, public hollidays. My daughter was in a daycare from the age of 5 months and loved it there. Very homely atmosphere and only about 25 kids.

When my husband was transferred I stopped working and became a full time mom. It was however clear to me that my toddler missed her friends dreadfully - she kept asking about them constantly. We have no relatives or close friends with children here.

I put her in a daycare centre, but it is huge in comparison to what she was used to. It is also a lot like school, with the little ones bringing a report back home and calling their care giver ''miss'' as in a real school.
The first three weeks she cried every moring I dropped her off.

She seems to have adjusted now but many days asks not to be taken. She is an only child and loves the companionship of other children. I'm considering moving her to another play group - less children and in a more homely atmosphere, but I am worried that the change will be another traumatic experience.

After all she is only at the current daycare for 5 and a half hours each day. So it is not as if she has to stay there for hours on end and I know they go to a lot of trouble to stimulate the kids.

But I was at university for six years, have three degrees and know how much effort and long hours of hitting the books this took. My growing up years on my parents farm are my fondest memories.
I therefore want my child to have a carefree childhood, playing as much as possible before she has to go to school.

I am just terribly worried that a move to a new play group might just do more wrong than good.
Can you help?

Petra le Roux
Answer 267 views

01 Jan 0001

Dear Petra,
Relax. A very worried Mom isn't of great benefit to a child ! Kids of 2, indeed of any age, are much more resilient and capable than most of us give them credit for ; so a change to a smaller playgroup isn't at all likely to damage her. and it sounds as i you may be right about why the change upset her --- the smaller group would have given her more personal attention, and a more manageable number of other kids to befriend and play with. So moving her to a more similar, smaller group may well help.
Again, though the larger group shouldn't do any harm, I happen to share your view that being a Kid is a very important job, and playing a very important task. Some playgroups can tend to prematurely reduce childhood, by imitating school and its strucvtures --- and there'll be more than enough time for that when she gets there.
I have even seen such playgroups hold a "graduation" ceremony for the toddlers, wrapping them in gowns and mortar-boards, and handing out diplomas ! The kids just seem a bit bewhildered, but such situations speak to me of adults who are carrying out their own fantasy-lives with the kids. And Teacher oughtn't to be having more fun playing than the children do !
Anyhow, moving to a more familiar style of playgrup shouldn't be at all "traumatic", for her or for you !
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