A little backstory first…My husband and I have opposite work shifts, so it worked out that we haven’t had to put our 2.5 year old in daycare at all. As a first-time expectant mother, I thought this would be a good thing (save money, not have to worry about who was caring for her, etc.) but now I’m realizing maybe it’s not so great after all. She is very socially anxious. With my husband and I, she’s loving, playful, outgoing, silly, rarely throws tantrums, just an all-around really great kid. But when she gets around other people, she becomes withdrawn, extremely shy, and just a completely different child. I know it’s normal for children to be nervous about strangers, but it feels like it’s more than that with her. As an example, we signed her up for a particular class and ended up giving up after several months because she would spend the entire class crying to us and trying to get out the door while all the other kids had a great time. We did find one class where she ended up warming up to the teacher, but that has been the only time she’s been comfortable with others besides us.
I want to get her into something that she has to do on her own, without my husband or I around for her to fall back on. However, the problem lies in the fact that we are going through some rough times financially right now, and no matter how much I try to move things around, we just can’t afford daycare currently, even part time. Our family and friends are unfortunately 900 miles away, and we don’t have much of a social life where we live right now, so playdates are hard to come by, not to mention we’d have to be there for those as well. Classes are fine, but, again, I want something where my husband and I aren’t there so she’s sort of forced to be on her own with others.
Does anybody have any ideas of things we can enroll her in, take her to, or just anything at all to help ease her social anxiety a bit? She can’t start pre-k until Fall 2015, and I just feel that’s way too long to wait to start fixing this.