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I need ideas of ways to get my kid around other kids without putting him in daycare.

My son has autism and needs to be around other kids as much as possible. He needs to learn how to play and be social with other children. It was recommended that he go to daycare, but I'm a stay at home mom and don't really feel that daycare is necessary. I have heard of something called a mothers day out...though I'm not too sure what it is. He plays with his 3 year old cousin a lot, so that helps. But, he needs to make some other friends, too. I've tried finding a playgroup with no luck. What other things can I do with him or take him to so he can have more interaction with children around his age?

Answer Question

Asked by Krystal.Ingalls at 5:08 PM on Dec. 9, 2009 in Toddlers (1-2)

Level 14 (1,737 Credits)
Answers (10)
  • most churches have a mothers day out program....its a 4 hour block where you leave your kids and go shopping or take a nap, whatever you need. Or, you could try a gymboree type program where the two of you attend together and play with other kids and moms with an instructor

    Answer by cakright at 5:10 PM on Dec. 9, 2009

  • Does your city have an early childhood PTA? church have MOPS? Local library have storytimes? You could look online for local Meet-Ups ( to see if there are playgroups or similar aged/gender/disability group already formed that you could join.
    Seeing as your son has Autism, I would check the county with what they may have established.

    Answer by campeno at 5:13 PM on Dec. 9, 2009

  • most malls have little pay areas for kids to run around in and climb on stuff. my kid loves them.

    Answer by Tummysmomma at 5:16 PM on Dec. 9, 2009

  • Playgroups. Gymboree is nationwide but a bit pricey.

    Answer by MLM0503 at 5:17 PM on Dec. 9, 2009

  • I am sure has a group that is perfect for you. Start one at your church. The YMCA has child watch and you could go work out, they also have a lot of mommy and me groups for swimming, or gymnastic he could work on his gross motor skills and interact a little with other kids. Stock the park on a nice day. Check with your city and see if they offer different programs through there rec program. Our library does groups for all ages. I would call around for programs geared to your child. There was a church in our last city that did a huge Day Camp every summer for kids with developmental delays and during the year there child care for the kids while the parents were at church, they kids were taught about Jesus and played. Also call the local social services they will know all sorts places to check.   See if there is a group for you here and see if they want to get together.  Good luck.

    Answer by DevilInPigtails at 5:36 PM on Dec. 9, 2009

  • I joined a playgroup on and couldn't be happier with it. I LOVE it. We do cheap and free things like parks, mall play areas, home play dates, moms only night out once a month, kiddie lands and whatever else we think of. The women are great...down to earth and good moms. And I love that my girl gets to be social even though I'm a SAHM. You might especially look for one in your area that focus on autistic kids? I'm not sure if thats even recommended but you would know whats best for your child.

    Answer by MamaChamp at 5:36 PM on Dec. 9, 2009

  • Is he in any type of early intervention? Children with special needs can go to a special ed preschool, he would be with teachers who specialize in autism and with kids with similiar issues. Some integrate with regular ed. They vary from 1 day a week to 3 days, actually 1/2 days. The best thing is that it is free, and is provided by the school district or county department of education.

    My twins have special needs and they have been in some form of "school" since 2. We started out with two mornings a week, from ages 2-3, then 3 mornings from age 3-4 and a full school week from 4 until kindergarten. It made the whole transition to school much easier for them. My older daughter had very mild speech delay and she did the same type of thing, only for her she only needed preschool from 2-3 and graduated without needing any extra help. So that's the way I'd go.

    Answer by teamquinn at 5:54 PM on Dec. 9, 2009

  • I am also a SAHM and just went to check out daycares today. We are looking to start our 16 month old at 2 hours, twice a week just for the social interaction. (Now that it is too cold to play at the park all the time.) We will only be charged 5.00/hour.

    I plan on using that time to volunteer at the nursing home near the daycare. it will be a positive experience for both of us. :) I wouldnt immediately dismiss the option of daycare as long as you are in it for your son, which by the sounds of it, you are. If you were a SAHM that took your son to daycare while you slept, that would be another story. lol.

    Answer by Anonymous at 6:40 PM on Dec. 9, 2009

  • also...daycare professionals are trained in certain special needs and pass background checks. They are qualified to care for your son and sometimes it is refreshing for other adults to do things in a different manner than you usually would. At first I was all worried that the person caring for him would have different discipline and ideas, but the more I think about it, the more I think it is a good thing.
    As much as I would love to think so, I dont know EVERYTHING. lol.

    Answer by Anonymous at 6:44 PM on Dec. 9, 2009

  • ditto on we are military and move fairly often so this site has been perfect for getting us out and helping us meet people.

    Answer by mrspierce06 at 8:04 AM on Dec. 10, 2009

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