View Full Version : Am I doing something wrong???

08-26-2002, 09:28 AM
Okay here is my sordid story of shame. Yesterday afternoon I took my 21 month old daughter to a demo Kindermusik class. They are normally very expensive, and so when I heard about the demo class I was interested so I could see if it was worth it. The age range was for 18-36 months. Well the first thing they did was have all the kids sit in a circle, either in front of their parents or on the parents' laps. My daughter was the only one (of about 10 kids) who did not want to sit still. She got up and was running around, and when I forcibly held her in my lap she would squirm squirm squirm. I could see the other Moms looking at each other with pity glances of 'that poor pregnant woman' (I'm 5 months along). This wasn't too bad actually because at least if she ran away she was quiet. There were a few parts where the kids got up and danced, ran, jumped, etc. and for that I was able to make her stay with the group. But then the next time they sat down she ran to my diaper bag and started demanding cookies. I told her that there were no cookies in class and she decided to put up one of her big temper tantrums. Screaming, crying, the works. So I got up, apologized to the class and left the building. At this point I was way beyond embarrassment, I was angry. I went over to a close playground and pushed her on the baby swings until I cooled down but now I'm worried. Is there something wrong with my child that she can't sit still for even 2 or 3 minutes? Why won't she participate? Am I raising a holy terror child? For an hour long class we lasted 15 minutes and it was pretty much all a disaster. I'm still really upset actually but I'm wondering where I have failed. Any opinions? How do you get your children to sit quietly in these classes?

08-26-2002, 10:27 AM
I hear your frustration. My daughter is almost 21 months old. She did pretty the same as yours when I first brought her to a Gymboree music class. So I thought this type of music class may not be a very good idea for children of this young age, at least not for my daughter. She likes the play class where she can have some variety of running around and sit and sing.

08-26-2002, 02:04 PM
I've never been to a Kindermusik class, so I can't comment on that. We took Evan to Gymboree (the regular classes, not the music ones--he was still too young for the ones they offered) this past winter and spring. At least at the Gymboree classes they understand that not every child may want to participate in the group activities and don't mind if you run off and do your own thing on the equipment. Which is good, because Evan never liked the group activities until near the end of the Spring. He very much preferred to "do his own thing." I think now that he's a little older he might enjoy the classes more, but we weren't ready to shell out $199 for the fall/winter session so we haven't signed up again. I'm trying to think of other, less expensive alternatives. We plan to check out our local children's museum soon, and I'm considering a membership to that for a lot less than the Gymboree classes.

It could be that your daughter just wasn't sure how to "react" to the new environment/situation. I don't think it's anything you've done. Is she use to being around other kids? I'm a SAHM, but Evan and I don't get out much. Or at least didn't for the first year. Then I joined a local playgroup and we signed up for Gymboree. I figured at least he would get to see that other children existed! We still don't get out much (playgroup and Gymboree didn't meet during the summer). If your daughter enjoyed the dancing part, why not just play some CD's at home and dance with her? That's all I can think of right now.

08-26-2002, 03:10 PM
Those classes are meant for the kids to explore their world. You are doing nothing wrong, she's just excited to see something new and all the kids her own age. Going for cookies is a "comfort" thing and a way she can control what goes on. It's OK to say no, she'll learn that soon enough. Ask the instructor if you are still concerned.

I've never been to a Kindermusik class where the kids HAD to sit still, and the teachers are trained to expect diff responses from diff kids. I mean, they lump months 18-36 together and so you know there is a wide range of learning going on!

In regular classes, kids usually run around for about 2-3 classes, but then settle down because they know they will have fun doing things with everybody else and love watching the other kids too. Demo classes are always "bedlam," so to speak, but certainly nothing to stress over. They are meant for the parents to see how creative their kids can be: running included!

If you join a class, you get music and materials to use at home and these are a big help in teaching your child to focus. If you do them at home it helps them to become familiar with the songs and materials. Then it is wonderful to watch them watch other children do just what they are doing! A real, live mirror!

I'm a trained Kindermusic teacher, but never taught a class because of other commitments. My DD, who is 5 now, did it from the time she was 6 mos until age 3. Kids will sometimes think of things to do on their own in class, too. For instance, when it was time to settle down rock with Mommy, DD would jump on my back (I was sitting) and I would rock forward. It was different from the others in class, but she knew she was to quiet down and that was her form of expression!

Well, I can't say enough about Kindermusik classes. They are great fun and good quality time for parent/child interaction. I hope you try it again! I'm even trying it with b/g twins now!! Try to keep up with THOSE antics!! :)


08-26-2002, 04:38 PM
So the instructor called me today and told me that it was okay that she was running around. and she appreciated that I left when she started throwing a tantrum so she wouldn't disturb the other children.

I guess where I felt worst was that she was running around and literally every other child (and there were about 10 of them) was sitting quietly in front of Mommy and participating. I would have been happy if she had sat still for even a minute and tried to see what was going on but she wouldn't even stay still for a second. It actually wasn't a madhouse at all except for her.

She does love music and singing and dancing which is why I thought she'd get something out of the class. I also would like her to start to interact with other children, or at least get used to the idea that there are other children in the world. I work part-time, but when I am not at home she has a sitter who comes to our house, so she isn't in any form of group childcare.

I had her in gymnastics classes for awhile and it was the same thing: she would run around like crazy (not always where she was supposed to but that was okay) but not sit still for the stretching and circle games. The other children (who were no older than she is now) would sit for at least a couple of minutes but she would not.

I have been thinking about this a lot today and I realized that she almost never sits still (except sometimes with a book or two), but is constantly moving and running when she is awake. Do I need to get her in these group play environments more, or discipline her more about staying still? I've been pretty successful at disciplining her to stay away from things (like the oven, the garbage, the CD rack) and out of certain drawers, but I am not sure how to discipline her to sit still (even for a few seconds) when she doesn't want to. Should I teach her to do this BEFORE I attend these classes, or will she learn it BECAUSE of these classes?

08-26-2002, 05:23 PM
21 months is too young to learn about sitting still, I think, if she doesn't do it naturally.

Pick your battles, I say. Be happy she's active. Instead of trying to keep her still, just worry about deflecting her from destructive things. Talk to the instructor. If she's okay with your daughter running about sometimes (and most would be), then maybe it's good to get the exposure to other kids.

Mine sometimes has the opposite problem - she's not used to other kids and will sometimes turn into an unresponsive doll in the class! (Of course at home she runs and jumps and shouts and plays.) As you can imagine, I don't have to worry about getting her to sit still...

08-26-2002, 06:58 PM
I guess I would be happy if I knew that she would grow out of this. My fear is that when she is 5 she stil lwon't be able to sit quietly and I will be told that I should have done something about it years ago. At what age is not sitting still a problem?

08-26-2002, 08:03 PM
She's lucky she not in group childcare while she is so young! IMO these classes are the best way to teach her: one on one with you being there by her side. I'd ask the teacher if she would work with you and attend the class as a means of teaching her to sit sometimes, dance other times. Just being in that situation one day, for one hour in the demo, isn't enough to judge.

Maybe when you read a favorite book and she jumps up, stop reading and ask her to sit with you while you read because you need her help in turning pages or something. Read interactive books, something where she has to make the noises or something. Then try reading longer books, say 5 pages longer. Being consistent is the key. Also, tell this to anyone else who reads with her.

Kindermusik also has songs that teach them to "stop and listen" so that is helpful. But you have to go by what the teacher says, too. If other people start to complain, you certainly don't want to be in that boat! But from what I've seen in Kindermusik when parents do motions and dances and rocking to songs with kids at home, they'll do it in the weekly sessions. The kids will have favorite songs and will pay attention. And the Moms should do the motions even when the child doesn't to show the child how they are to do it! (not the "do as I say" method of teaching!!LOL)

We had Kindermusik classes in a dance studio where one wall was a mirror! You might think it was a big distraction, but it really wasn't. The kids got used to it! If I remember correctly, my eldest didn't sit still for any length of time until after 3, so during her Kindermusik years she was on the go! Try to work with the teacher is my advice. Good Luck!! SUSAN

09-07-2002, 04:59 PM
Wow, I can COMPLETELY identify. We signed Jake up for baby art classes at the Old Town School of Folk Music here in Chicago. His best friend had been going and loved it. Well, because of my retail schedule, I had been unable to take him to a class, so either my husband or my parents were taking him.

First thing I hear from my family is that the teacher is upset because only one caregiver should be bringing Jake, and it really should be the same person each time. Then, when I finally got a chance to take him to class, they sit everyone down to hear a story. I should emphasize that Jake, at 24 months, was the youngest in the class, but not by more than 6-8 months. I was mortified when he refused to sit still at all. The teacher just gave me dirty looks, and the other parents (pretty much all moms) were equally unsympathetic.

At four months pregnant with my second child, I had no energy to force my child to sit still, nor did I think he should have to at his age. So I took Jake out.

I was nervous about signing him up to begin preschool for this fall, thinking the same thing would happen -- he'd be the one unruly child racing hyperactively around the room. Imagine my surprise when my DH and I brought him to school on Thursday for the first time... the other children were mostly sitting at two tables, playing with clay. Jakey walked right up to an empty seat and sat right down. When I picked him up at the end of the day, the teachers told me he had been very well behaved.

Looong story short, I think it's just a function of age.... please don't worry!!

JakesMom (and now Danny's)

09-11-2002, 05:05 PM
Remember that 6-8 months is a LONG time at this age. My son plays with other two year olds who are 3-4 months older than he is, and I'm amazed at what a difference it can make.

I've never tried these kind of classes with DS, although we went to one Gymboree play class several months ago. My son loved playing on the equipment, but cried if I tried to take him to the circle for group activities. We never went back - too expensive for what he was doing with it. However, at my church he's in bible class where they progressively expect a little bit more from the kids as they move up in age. Right now, they expect him to sit in a chair for a few minutes while they sing, tell a story, and color. He does fine, but I was certain he would never be able to do it! ("You mean, you're going to put him in a chair that doesn't have a strap?!")One of the reasons that he can be successful in Bible class, though, is that it is very routine and he goes regularly. He knows exactly what to expect and it helps him to be calm. When your child is in a new class, they don't know what to expect and can't decide how to act. Some kids withdraw, some run around, and some cry (like mine). As they learn the routine, I think they calm down and can really amaze you with what they can do!

SAHM to Eric (9/5/00) and Robin (9/3/02)

05-12-2003, 12:49 PM
Try a "Music Together" Class. The first thing the instructor said to us was "it's okay if your child needs to run around, as long as they are doing it safely " (i.e. not climbing furniture, opening doors etc.) She explained that all children learn differently. That by just being there, seeing the other children and hearing them, they would be learning. There is a lot of dancing around, a lot of movement and a lot of hands on with instruments. I have been taking my son since he was 5 months old and he is now 28 months old. I've watched new children come into the class. Most of them don't seem to pay any attention for the first 4-6 classes, then you begin to see a transformation. They start to get interested and start to participate. Just like Kindermusic, you get a CD, casset tape and song book.

I can't tell you how impressed I am with Music Together (http://www.musictogether.com/) At 28 months, my son can keep a beat, sings on key frequently, sings along to Vivaldi & Bach, and knows most of the words to the standard toddler songs. Don't give up on music classes, just find a different class or instuctor that makes you feel comfortable.

Good luck!

07-06-2003, 12:58 PM
We started Julia in a babies Music Together class at 9 months. She LOVED it! When the next session began, we moved her to a mixed ages class, and she continues to have a great time.

I am a musician myself, and I have been very impressed with this program and its philosophy on children's exposure to music. I love that we get a songbook, CD, and tape of the songs we'll be doing each semester. It's great to be able to sing the songs at home so that the children recognize the songs both in class and after the class is over.

I just wish that we'd started earlier!

Mama to Julia 1-10-02

09-25-2003, 01:16 AM
In my mom's group, we've participated in a singalong time once a week in which the children are expected to run around! I think you should see the curiosity, energy, and self-motivation as an asset and think about how to channel it so your child reaches her potential, feels good about it and doesn't lose it as she becomes socialized over the years. I think it would be a loss for both of you if your child lost that spark that underlies individual thinking, exploration, and independence.

I've recently signed up my 26-month-old for Kindermusik, and he is also the most rambunctious in the class. The policy in our class is that it's okay and normal for kids to run off and not always sit still and participate. The instructor just asks that we follow our kids if they leave the group, and remove them only if they become disruptive. It sounds to me like your daughter only became disruptive when she was asked to participate in a way that she was not ready for. Our pediatrician says two-years-old is too early to expect such socialization from every child.

If her participating means sitting back from the group and exploring the exterior environment so that she is comfortable with it, you may find that you can gently entice her to participate by finding connections between what SHE is doing and what the class is doing. If you can find a way to make participation HER idea, she may be much more enthusiastic.

I, too, wondered if something was wrong when my child could not be enticed to participate in Gymboree classes: he went around the room working the door handles, inspecting all the moving parts on every stroller in the room, and changing the music on the CD player (which wasn't even placed out of the way -- none of the other kids went near it). The driving beat on some of the music made him want to leave. But when they calmed down for the last song, and the instructor pulled out a big Gymbo doll, all the other kids sat down obediently in a circle. My son went right up to the doll of his own accord and gave it a smile and a great big hug. Then all the other kids got up to do the same. I learned two things from that: 1) my son was not ready for Gymboree. 2) I had to find activities that played on his interests, rather than forcing someone else's idea of what he should be doing at this early age.

At the very least, you are seeing normal behavior for an energetic toddler. You may be seeing the seeds of future leadership skills, and independent thinking. It would be a shame to socialize that away instead of nurturing it. Maybe you need to find a class more suited to where your daughter is now, or another instructor as others have suggested. As long as you can keep her safe, I think the tendency to explore so energetically is something to cherish at this age, and remember that "this too shall pass."

09-25-2003, 06:43 PM
You know it's really weird to read this discussion now because I first posted it over a year ago! My daughter is now 34 months old and we go to a Mommy & Me preschool once a week. She still isn't 100% into circle time, but it is SO much better. It took about 20 preschool sessions before she became interested in sitting still for the songs and games. She is still less interested in sitting still for a story, but the dancing parts are lots of fun for her.

So it does seem that she is less inclined to sit in a circle and participate in the activities than other children, but I do have to say that after a year I have noticed a huge improvement. So people who are pulling their hair out over the same issue, there is hope!

10-15-2003, 04:48 PM
My son has been in Kindermusik since he was 2-1/2 months old and he is now almost 16 months. Sometimes, he is really good about sitting and participating with the group; however, other days he is really interested in exploring and do his own thing. His teacher said this is not unusual and sometimes they just need to do their own thing. I think the other issue in our case is that Cade is the oldest kid in his class by far and if there are other kids close to his age he does better participating. Luckily, we will be transitioning to the next level of class after the first of the year.

I have also noticed that when a child is new to Kindermusik that it takes several classes before they decide to participate. They start to become familiar with the general routine of the class and once they are comfortable with it they begin to participate. However, there are still days when they will want to do their own thing. The other thing that often helps is following up the class with the CD and activities at home. We usually don't do this that often, but I know other parents swear by this.

I know sometimes I have a hard time when my son doesn't participate. Try to not let it bother you. You may want to try another session or possibly see if Gymboree is an option in your area. I know you can also sit in on one of their classes as well.

Mom of Cade 6/16/02