I’ve been seeing a trend lately in the mommy blog world.
And if I can get real for a minute: I don’t like it.
I believe we are meant to encourage. We are meant to inspire.
We are meant to not judge and never make another mom feel less than.
However, I also believe we are meant to help each other reach their fullest potential as a mama and a role model.
And if that means telling other women what they might not always want to hear, but need to; then so be it.
What you are about to read is only my opinion. You are entitled to disagree. I’m not one for debates, so if you do disagree, please understand that I will probably not “get into it” with you. I crawl into corners and whisper strange, incomprehensible things when people try to debate with me.
This trend I have noticed is specifically coming from the preschool/pre-kindergarden mommies.
Mom’s are telling other moms to “relax.”
“Your time with your little ones is short and fleeting. This is a time to embrace playing and not worry about school. “
These mom’s are telling other mama’s that your kids will learn everything they need to learn when they get to school and the teachers teach them. “Don’t sweat the educational stuff right now”, they are chanting.
Most of them start off with: “Don’t stress. Relax. Slow down”.
Which sounds all fluffy and full of sprinkles and rainbows.
“Does your blog end with a deep tissue massage and Enya on repeat?!”
“So, Krista you’re telling me I should be stressed out?!”.
No. Absolutely not. I hate stress.
It gives me wrinkles. And hemorrhoids.
But what I am telling you is that this is the time to be teaching your kids.
There has to, of course, be a balance. I would never say all work and no play.
But I would also never say all play and no work. Or mostly play and very little work.
Mama’s, please. Please. I’m begging you.
Don’t do your children an injustice.
Their little minds are craving to learn and grow.
Yes. Your time is fleeting. But that doesn’t mean you should waste it.
Maria Montessori calls it the absorbent mind.
From the ages of birth to 3 years, our children are in a state of unconscious learning. They are figuring out how to use their hands, open and close their mouths, walk, run, pick up a spoon, throw a ball. And they don’t even realize they are learning.
When a child reaches 3, they move into a conscious learning state. They are now taking those skills they just spent the last three years developing, and putting them to hard work. They are exploring freedom and independence. Their minds are ultra sensitive to mathematical and language skills. And they are ABSORBING everything, without believing they should think twice about what you are teaching them. This is the ideal stage for children to learn the fundamentals.
Allow me to give you an example.
I am teaching a 3 year old how to read. He is just learning his letter sounds, when I show him the letters “ph” on a card. I explain to him that “ph” says “ff”. He absorbs. He learns. “Ph” always says “ff”. He doesn’t question it.
By the time a child has reached 6 years of age, their ‘absorbent’, sponge-like mind is moving into a new stage; reasoning and logical thinking. They now question what they are being taught. They are not absorbing without reasoning first.
So now, I am teaching a 6 year old how to read. I show him “ph”, and I tell him it says “ff”. But, he knows what “P” says and he knows what “H” says. Although I have told him that “ph” says “ff”, everytime he comes across it his logical thinking tells him that those two letters on their own say a very different sound and he is now trying to reason vs. absorb. It takes him three times longer to understand how to read the word “phase” because he wasn’t taught the “ph” sound at the age when it would have been absorbed and become common knowledge.
Please don’t confuse this rant for a “you need to make your kid the smartest kid in the room” rant. I’m not about creating over-achievers. I don’t think it’s healthy to throw kids only into an academic setting and then they grow up genius wizards that don’t know how to talk to strangers.
But, please. Please hear me.
You are missing an opportunity. An opportunity that could make your child’s life 10 times easier when they get to school. You could avoid issues. You could avoid fights. You could avoid tutors and special classes.
And the kids that are having a hard time learning to read, or learning to write. They are not dumb.
They are struggling because we are becoming a generation of parents that believe it’s the teacher’s job to teach my kid, and it’s my job to play dress-up and superheroes.
That is a lie.
We are becoming a generation of parents that are modeling poor educational skills. A generation that believes education doesn’t need to happen until we are 6 years old.
If I don’t put priority and importance on education, why should they?
I am my child’s greatest role model.
So, what is my solution?
Find a balance.
Your child wants to learn. And they also want freedom and independence.
If you provide your child with an environment where they can choose from activities that promote learning and activities that promote fun, they will utilize their freedoms. I promise.
No, you don’t have to force your 3 year old to sit at a desk for 2 hours and write his name over and over again.
But, if you have paper and pencil readily available, I promise some day he will pick it up and say, “mommy, I want to write my name”. And the same goes for so many other activities and learning experiences. If you provide the opportunities, they will pick them up and use them.
Learning is not meant to only happen at school.
And it’s not meant to only happen after their 6th birthday.
So, go relax. Please, don’t stress. Hemorrhoids are really gross.
Take lots of pictures and don’t let this time fly by without breathing in every adorable second. If your kids are as cute as mine, which I’m sure they are, then don’t let a single day go by without enjoying them.
.And then, do your child the biggest favor of their lives, and teach them.
Teach them how to cook.
Teach them how to read.
Teach them how to count.
And throw a ball.
And play piano.
And write their name.
And do a cartwheel.
And fold their laundry.
Teach them as many things as you possibly can.
Teach them that education is important.
And teach them that their education is important to you.