Q: My 9-month-old and I are in a Mommy and Me Music Class, but he’s scared to participate. By the end of class, though, he’s getting into it a little bit. Should I keep attending?
A: Stick with it. You’re making important progress. While some children naturally go-with-the-flow and jump right into new situations, others are slower to warm up. They tend to be more comfortable in one-on-one experiences and can feel easily overwhelmed in a group. Another factor may be your son’s sensitivity to sounds. He may love hearing music at home, but in a class, the noise and movement of the other children may at first be too much for him.
Here’s how you can help your son feel safe and find pleasure in new relationships and experiences:
• Play with musical instruments at home and gradually add different sounds.
• Invite another child around your son’s age to come over so he can get used to spending time with other children. Ideally the child should be familiar to your son and be a good “fit”, i.e., easy to get along with.
• Give him opportunities to feel comfortable in group situations by attending other organized activities like play groups or story time at the library.
• If possible, arrive at the music class early to give your child a chance to explore the room without others around.
When in new or group situations, follow your child’s lead. If he clings to you, help him explore from the safety of your arms or lap. If he needs a break, take a stroll around the room or go to a quiet area. If you give him the time and support he needs, he will soon feel safer to join the fun.