How do I improve my 2 1/2 year old's social skills?

User - posted on 04/24/2012 ( 8 moms have responded )

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I brought my son to his early childhood class this morning and he threw the worst temper tantrum. It was during the separating part of the class where the parents go into a different room than the kids. I was trying to put my 2 month old into her carrier to take her into the other room when my 2 1/2 yr old son threw a fit. He starting screaming, turned beat red, tried to overturn all the tables and bins with toys in. I tried to stop him but had my daughter in my arms and couldn't get to him in time. By the time I had set her down, he was on the floor screaming. The teacher told me to stay in the room with him instead of leaving him there because she couldn't handle him. We ended up just leaving.
Turns out he was starving hungry. I had given him breakfast but being 2 1/2 he hardly ate any of it. The class is from 11am until 12:30 so it's right during his normal lunch time. But should I use this as an excuse for his behavior? How do I get him to understand it's not ok?
I'm just wondering what I should have done differently. I felt really bad for him and I kind of resent the nasty looks everyone was giving us (including the teachers) while we left.
I'm worried that they are going to ask us to leave the class (he also has a history of pushing and bullying the other kids). I'm a sahm and we don't get out a lot, mostly because we don't know any other kids and live in a small town w/out a lot to do. How do I socialize him when no one wants to be around him?

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September - posted on 04/25/2012

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Yes don't expect perfection especially when he is use to being at home with you. It's going to take time for the both of you to adjust and that's ok. The teachers should have been more helpful that's for sure.When our son first started school he never wanted me to leave, his teacher was great with distracting him so I could. The more he attends class to more he'll get use to it. After having our son in school for a year now I have a hard time getting him to leave some days :)

User - posted on 04/25/2012

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Thanks for the responses ladies. I guess I just didn't know what to expect, it was his first tantrum in a public setting so I wasn't sure how to handle it. I had kind of hoped the teachers would step in to help since I literally had my hands full but they didn't. I guess I was just worried cuz everyone is telling me I don't have him around other kids enough. I've been looking for stuff to do but there really isn't a lot around here. The next closest town is 30 minutes away and I don't always have a car to use, plus gas costs a lot. We go to the park when it's nice out, but we live in Northern MN so that's only a couple months out of the year. I would love to bring him to story time and I will try that. I have just been afraid to bring him there, he's not much of a sit still kinda guy. I had tried to give him something to eat right before leaving the house but at that time he wasn't interested and class was like 10 mins away. It was during the snack part of the class that he had his tantrum (he actually had food in his mouth when he was screaming). But after we got home he ate every single bite of his lunch. And it's not really school, I'm there with him for the majority of it but they have a separating part to help work on kids being away from their moms & dads. So, we will try it again next week and hopefully it goes better. I guess I shouldn't expect perfection! :)

September - posted on 04/25/2012

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I'm sorry you had such a hard time with dropping your son off at class. If the tantrum was strictly because he was hungry I would just be sure in the future he has a fully tummy prior to going to class. In addition to feeding him before you leave you could also bring a snack for him to eat in the car. To socialize him more you could take him to your local community centers if you have them, YMCA, Gymboree classes, play groups, the playground, the library and those sorts of things, settings where he is able to interact with other children. I think it's very important to get out and do thing with him so it's not just the two of you all day every day, even if that does mean driving to a bigger town to get involved in classes of some sort. Also don't feel bad about the looks people were giving you that just reflects badly on their character, no one has children who are perfect 24/7. Toddlers throw tantrums...all toddlers at some point or another. Hang in there and good luck!

Amy - posted on 04/24/2012

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He's 2 1/2 I'm not really sure what social skills you want to improve on, most kids that age are pretty independent and really only play next to other kids not with other kids. We didn't start my oldest in pre-school till he was 4, so only a year before he started kindergarten, he only went 3 days a week 1/2 days. Otherwise we did a music together class, that incorporated songs and movement once a week for a couple of months, and story hour at the library like Katilin said. For awhile we also went to a community center that had open play gyms on Wednesday and Friday mornings so he could run around with other kids.

My daughter turned 2 in March and there is no way I would be sending her to school yet I just don't think she would get much out of it. We do babygarten at our local library on Tuesday mornings, otherwise she has her older brother to play with.

If you decide you are going to continue sending your son to school I agree with the snacks on the way to school, don't they have snack time at school too? Or find another program that doesn't fall right during his lunch time, or take him out for a few months and adjust his schedule at home so he won't be there during lunch time. But i also think the teachers should of been able to step in and help stop that behavior rather then leaving it to you afterall what would they have done if you weren't there?

Kaitlin - posted on 04/24/2012

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Do you have a library story hour? Most do- check it out.
I would also feed him RIGHT before you go, or bring some cheese sticks or something so he can have something to eat (in the car?) before you go in. That's what we do- it helps to ward off the grumpies.
I think it's probably just going to take time for him to get used to group activities.

Brittney - posted on 04/24/2012

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I think I would have brought a snack along or taken him out of the room to cool off for a little while. I apologize I'm not of much help.

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