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Keeping My Preschooler’s Social Life in Balance

by Joe Lawrence | January 6th, 2015 | Preschool, Social

playdate (400x400)Hearing the phrase, “preschooler social life” one year ago would have brought much laughter. How could a four-year old have a social life? Well, I stand corrected, as my daughter has a more impressive social calendar than I ever had.

At least once a week, my wife or I find an invite to a birthday party, play date, or other functions in my daughter’s bin at school. It is to the point where I we are tracking these events on our phone reminders to stay on top of it all. It is wonderful to see my little one interact with her friends and develop some social etiquette. My concern is how much of our social lives we are sacrificing. I find that while she is playing with her friends, I am making small talk and trying to get to know other parents better. Essentially, I am trying to make new friends.

When I was growing up, my social life was not the focal point for my parents; it was a side effect of theirs. I would go to places with them and make friends there or find some other way to stay busy. Sure, I went to my friends’ birthday parties and whatnot, but our parents were not as centered around us kids as we are today.

We go out of our way to create all these new holiday traditions like elf on a shelf or decorate their rooms to mirror some Crate and Barrel catalogue. We tend to give our kids all the things we wish we had and in the moment allow things to get out of balance and our children begin to expect perfection.

I noticed this with my daughter when I went to a friend’s house for a summer picnic. There were other kids there, but none that she ever met before. This event was not centered on them. She kept coming over to me and seeking for me to entertain her. At first, I was pulled into this trap and would go play with her. Finally, I said enough is enough and told her to find something to do with the other children. It did not take long at all for her to adapt and the world kept spinning at 1,040 MPH.

Now, I really try to take her with me to all of my social events. I want her to learn the world does not spin around her and I want to have a social life too. My little one and I have some balance. She sees me interacting with my friends at my events and she sees us making new friends at her events.

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