When Toddlers Don't Connect with Their Teachers

Is it too soon to let your preschooler switch classes?

Q. My 2-year-old is just not connecting with the teacher assigned to him at his toddler program; he doesn't seem even to know her name! And most kids he knows are in another class with the teacher his older brother had (whom he and I loved, by the way). Should I ask to have him switched?

    A. It's great that you're ready to advocate for your child. But it's not clear that a class switch will fix his issues; in fact, we're not even sure that he really has issues. As lovely as the relationship between your eldest child and his teacher was, it was also exceptional (at this age, the biggest connections our little urchins made were with their Lego pieces).

      Consider His Age & Abilities

      Maybe your younger child isn't the type who warms up to adults right away and would be equally disinterested in the teacher your older child adored. What about the fact that he's separated from the kids he knows? When he's a few years older and is at a developmental stage where he'd actually form solid relationships, not being with his friends would be a negative.

      But at 2, he's just learning to move beyond parallel play and to socialize, share, and solve problems without bloodshed -- the main goals of a toddler program. Of course, the other big goal is learning to do all this without you there. Since you didn't mention that your son is having any significant difficulties, such as tough separations when you leave him, it sounds like he's relatively okay and that you should just let the situation ride.

        Kathy Bishop and Julia Whitehead are both moms and the authors of The City Parent Handbook (Rodale, 2004).

        Originally published in American Baby magazine, September 2005.