Have you ever been in a mom group where every mom is taking turns sneakily bragging about their kids.
Don’t worry! They do it in a smiley, “humble brag” kind of way, but then you go home wondering why your 2 year old can’t spell Mississippi. (Slight exaggeration, but still.)
You immediately think, “gosh, I thought my kid was so smart, but I guess I’m not doing enough.”
Guess what? You’re wrong.
Nowadays, culture seems to dictate that early everything is the only true key to your child’s successful life. If they can’t read by 3, they’ll never go to college.
I mean, really. Come on!!!!!
I have a confession though.
I used to be one of those moms. And to an extent, I still am. I even wrote a post, almost a year ago now, about how I taught my son his abc’s before age 2.
But I learned something since then:
Kids need to just be kids!
Child development hasn’t changed. Culture has. It is our culture that is dictating what your child should be doing, but more often than not, our kids just aren’t ready.
Let me give you an example.
My son has autism, and often, children with autism have challenges in one area, but gifts in another.
For my little guy, his gift is with letters. He has always loved letters. He is the one who inspired me to write that ABC post, since he learned his alphabet very young. At the time though, I didn’t know he had autism. I just thought that I had a brilliant boy and that I was the best mom ever (hilarious, right?).
Well fast forward to today. My little girl is now 21 months. The same age my son was when he knew his alphabet.
She doesn’t know all her letters, or her numbers, or her shapes, or her colors. But guess what she does know?
She knows how to sing songs, dance, make people smile, help her dolls, and empathize with her brother.
So what is more important?
I’m kind of comparing apples to oranges since my daughter is neurotypical, but it made something click in my mind.
Why aren’t we focusing on social and emotional skills as much as intellectual ones as a culture?
Why are we more concerned with high grades instead of encouraging a child’s imagination? Or teaching them to hug a friend who is sad. Or even, helping them find the joy in the world around them?
How did we get to a point where intelligence is defined as how many facts a child knows? Or more commonly, how early a child knows those facts?
Think about how often it is thought that if a child walks sooner, they are “smarter?” When of course intelligence has hardly anything to do with that!
Why are we rushing childhood?
Why are there constant worksheets in preschool? Can’t class be based around play and learning to help those around us?
There should be JOY in learning. A child will be in school for a very long time, but they won’t be a child forever. Fostering a love of life and those around them needs to be taught while they’re young!
So will you all take a challenge with me? A challenge to try and preserve childhood. Try to ignore those social media posts that make you feel like you and your child aren’t enough. They’re just wrong.
Focus on what really matters: letting your kid be a kid. Let them play and explore the world around them instead of forcing learning on them. Kids are made to learn. And they will learn.
At their pace.
So take a step back and watch your child grow before you. It will be magical, I promise.
Download my FREE list of children’s activities below to help YOUR child feel more joy during childhood and check out my post on some awesome learning activities that your child will love!
30 Kid Activities that take 10 Minutes or Less!
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