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Is my kid strange? Is this normal or is something wrong?

My 16 month old son is the sweetest, happiest little kid- he runs around here climbing and laughing and jumping and hugging and kissing...but it seems like he doesn't PLAY outside of our home. When we went to the pool all summer, he would swim, but he wouldn't smile or laugh when we did funny things or entertained him- he would just look around. Today I took him sledding and after the disasterous time we had getting him suited up (wish someone would have warned me that THAT would be such a headache, lol) he calmed down.He screamed when I put him down in the snow, and he wouldn't play at all. I put him in the sled and he just sat there, didn't really interact or anything while I pulled him around. He did the same thing when we went tree hunting- and there were no snowpants, mittens or boots involved then. He always cried constantly in daycare, too. Is this just a problem with socialization, and how do I teach him to play?

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Asked by Anonymous at 9:32 PM on Dec. 19, 2009 in General Parenting

Answers (10)
  • Based on what you're saying, he could be painfully shy. Were you and your husband uncomfortable in social situations as kids?

    Answer by Danishlady at 9:38 PM on Dec. 19, 2009

  • (OP) I can't speak for him but I was shy as a kid but not to this extent and these days, he's surrounded by (older) cousins and animals and situations all the time. What do I do? Does that fit situations, like sledding today, too? It was just he and I, and he still didn't really respond to any of his suroundings (he was aware of them but showed no awe or interest...)

    Answer by sweetphoenix529 at 9:45 PM on Dec. 19, 2009

  • Sounds like he is a normal kid. My goodness some of us learn new things slowly. He is a little more conservative out side of his home. Nothing wrong with that. It is just how he is. Keep encouraging him to do new things and keep him active. He will be fine.

    Answer by mmmegan38 at 9:51 PM on Dec. 19, 2009

  • My son FREAKED when I put him in the sand this summer! I was shocked. And when we go around a BUNCH of new people it takes him a while to warm up, but the more familiar people around the faster he warms up. Do you have family near by that he can visit? You only named 2 instances of taking him you stay in alot? My first dd was PAINFULLY shy. No one believed me that she spoke for the first 6 months that she did b/c she wouldnt talk in front of anyone but me and dh! Putting her in half day daycare was the BEST thing I did for her!! Good Luck!


    Answer by momof030404 at 9:54 PM on Dec. 19, 2009

  • It does sound like an intimidation to public situations. He could be a naturally shy child and is very much off put by things outside the home. Talk with his Pedi and see what they suggest.

    Answer by JazzlikeMraz at 10:16 PM on Dec. 19, 2009

  • I would give him more time. He is still really young. Does he have to be in day care? He may just need more time with you. Daycare can be overwhelming especially at that age. I would cut it back to 1/2 days if possible (I know this isn't always possible) and give him opportunity but not push him.

    Answer by Anonymous at 10:30 PM on Dec. 19, 2009

  • It is likely that your son is just a very observant little guy. Many times, kids who are observant will take an especially long time to "warm up" to things - and new things are overwhelming b/c there is so much to take in. My son was (is) like that. From birth, he just wanted to watch things, all the time. New things were interesting to him, but he would sit and watch them for a long time before ever wanting to partake or investigate. At 16 mos, he was just as you say yours is. Very stand-offish at first, would cry about snow or water or sand, until he got used to it. But this is NOT a bad thing! My DS, at 26 mos now, is so smart and picks up on things really quickly, b/c he spends so much time taking everything in. He is well beyond his developmental age in language and motor skills, and we connect that to his ability to observe. I wouldn't worry - and esp. don't make him feel bad for being cautious!

    Answer by Iskkra at 11:01 PM on Dec. 19, 2009

  • There is so much to look at in those places he's on sensory overload! Remember, everything is new to them.

    My daughter is a very outgoing little 17 month old. The area I live in, there aren't a lot of people of any colour other than white. I took her to work on a day off to show her off and my buddy who is black came over to see her. She'd never seen anyone with skin that colour and she just went totally silent and staaaaaaared at him lol. He was talking to her and trying to make her laugh but she was in awe and seemed kind of fascinated.

    I think it's normal.

    Answer by Allergic2Stupid at 11:12 PM on Dec. 19, 2009

  • He just sounds like he is most comfortable at home and that is when he is himself. He is just shy in public places, places he doesn't really know. My 2 year old is really loud and runs around crazy. My mil was over the other day and said, he never acts like that at my house. He is at her house often. When I worked she watched him 3 days a week. But I guess he is more calm and such at her house. He is just more comfortable at home.

    Answer by Anonymous at 1:15 AM on Dec. 20, 2009

  • That reminds me of the scene in A Christmas Story where the mom dresses the little brother up in the snow suit and he waddles to school. He was probably uncomfortable from all of the clothes and cold. I wouldn't find being dressed in a bunch of clothes I wasn't used to in the freezing cold too much fun either. Christmas trees are really not that exciting when you're that small it is just a tree. He wouldn't be overly excited if you took him in the woods to look at a bunch of oak trees either. That is something older kids who "get it" like much more. Daycare is a scary place. Heck I'm scared and want to run away when I walk into a daycare. They are loud, busy, dirty places with tons of hyper active kids in them. Of course he was intimidated!! Wouldn't you be intimidated if someone threw you into a frat party and told you to stay. You need to set up play dates with ONE child his age. You're overwhelming him!

    Answer by Anonymous at 1:31 AM on Dec. 20, 2009

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