Updated: Nov 7, 2019
Just like us Mums need each other, so do our wee ones, more than you would think. If yours is a sibling to someone then you will know that the younger one is always watching, copying the older, trying to join in, much to the annoyance of the brother or sister at times ( first born here)! But peer , positive peer pressure is the best thing for our children. Im a Mum of four but three are teens so my wee one doesn't have that stimulation another child older than her by a few years to go by. Im , back to childminding in the future so I can give that to her.
. opportunity to have children older and younger than her will be detrimental to her development all round. Her personality, her motor skills and her cognitive development. Case in point, my last nanny job, we travelled for an extended period of time as their house was being renovated, we moved countries and around London a few times over filling in time. Busy ( not her name but my nickname for her, self explanatory) did not socialise with her friends that she had spent every day with for the first few years. When we came back to the neighbourhood her mates were all talking. She only had a few words in her vocabulary. With in two weeks of exposure to her peers, she was talking up a storm and I haven't be able to get a word in edge ways since. But even though I talked to her in those times it was just her and me, ,the full on immersion of her friends in a one on one or group setting , constantly was what she needed to get that push. She did see other children , in a few classes that I could get her too and the multitude of museums we visited.
I have noticed the same with my wee one, see watches , she observes other children in the playgroups and classes that we do. And activity engages with them if she can. She in particular has a friend that is 4 months older than her and loves it when she gets to play at her house or she come to ours. Because she is that wee bit older, she was crawling as mine was thinking about it and so on with walking so she got the physical show and tell example as such from her big girl friend. Which in turn helped my wee one to make the connection in her brain for what to do. They know, like instinctually what to do next, be it they want to sit, they want to roll over and they want to stand ! Seeing another wee one do it, allows them to get motivated and enthusiastic about the next stepping stone or milestone. It gives them the confidence to try I feel.
This cemented my notion over the years of watching wee ones back, that our kids need and crave that interaction and it helps with all areas and all ages. Collectively sticking them all on the floor from day dot , they interact and gurgle at each other, then they watch and learn from each other to roll and sit and play with toys , finally to speech and social interaction, moving from parallel play to interactive and engaged play, ( parallel play is doing their own thing but with others in the room, usually amounts to wanting what ever the other is playing with and squabbles. To engaged play , where they play together at something, like a game, dress up or something imaginary) This positive peer pressure also contributes to manners, and social norms, how to act and behave in situations. A teacher friend of mine sees it most in pre preschool and then into early years as children copy one another be it good or bad. And will follow another lead in sitting on the mat or clean up time etc.
For me being from NZ , the speech part is the most prevalent for me, she won't have my accent, she will copy and pronounce her words not as I do ,even though right now , Im the most heard voice, but as her friends do. But I don't mind really, I just know that I have to keep plunging her into the social pool for her to keep her development on track and her personality thriving.
So there we are at coffee groups and classes thinking that it was us that needed someone to talk to and be with , when really it's the baby /toddler/kid mafia who need and want and are banding together to take over the world. Im glad though, I am lucky that I have surrounded myself with loving good people and wonderful mothers who will help me to raise my toddler in the best possible way. I hope that I and my wee one can do the same for yours x