Hand to Hold's Official Blog: Written by Parents for Parents

My Preemie Toddler is Socially Behind

Okay, as will be the case for many preemies, they will be quarantined for a number of months every winter during RSV Season.   For my little girl, RSV Season lasted for 8 months of the year and we kept her quarantined completely for the first two seasons and partially for the third one.

The summer months arrived and we were so ready to escape our “imprisonment” that we did anything and everything we could to make it to family gatherings, church, and to let our child make and play with friends.

My toddler has taken quite some time to adjust to interacting with other children and being brave enough to play on the playground by herself, etc.  For the first summer that she was ‘out’ she clung to me or my husband most of the time in social situations.  While I watched other toddlers, younger than my preemie, run and play and jump on playground toys, and go down slides, my preemie didn’t dare leave my side, and was very unstable on the playground toys.  It made me sad that she had missed out on so much, but I was hopeful that she would catch on quickly.

This past summer I’ve had the chance to take her to the park with cousins quite frequently, and slowly but surely she is gaining confidence.  She’s two and a half and finally she dares to go down slides by herself, climb up and down big toys, and she has enough experience to play happily with other kids if they urge her along.  However, I still frequently find her standing by herself watching other kids run off and play, like she’s not sure how to join them.

I know it will still take some time and more exposure for her to keep up with other kids her age, or even younger, but she has come a long way.  She now asks to go to her friends’ houses all of the time and she’s getting more creative and courageous with other children.  I’m so proud of her!

How is your preemie toddler doing socially?  Is he confident around other children and playing on public playgrounds?  Please share your experiences with us.

Afton Mower About Afton Mower

After Mower (UT) lost her firstborn son at 21 weeks.  Her daughter was born a year and a half later at 27 weeks.  The NICU was overwhelming and isolating and it was through those two experiences she was led to found this social hub for parents to find the support they needed. Afton also gave birth to another daughter, born two days overdue after four months of strict bedrest. She believes it is a tender experience to hold a special baby in your arms when his spirit returns to his heavenly home, a miracle to watch tiny babies survive the risks of prematurity and a blessing to hold a healthy full-term baby after months of difficulty and sacrifices.

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