Child development is not a competition. It is a gradual unfolding of the human potential. Just as each child’s timetable for physical growth is unique, so is the timetable for emotional, social, and academic growth.
Today, artificial measurements of success dominate our society and often overwhelm common sense. We pressure our children to attain certain milestones at increasingly younger ages. Are you worried that a three-year-old is not being “challenged”? A human being is not fully formed until age twenty-four!
The antidote to frantic, competitive parenting is to appreciate children for who they are, not who we want them to be. Children learn how to please adults at a very early age. They innately understand what matters most and will try to please, even when the expectations are unreasonable for their age or maturity. Competence and confidence develop naturally and incrementally when the obstacles presented match the developmental needs of each child. Observe and respond when they demonstrate readiness to take the next step.
Provide as much opportunity for open-ended exploration and discovery as you can. Give children time, your time. Cuddle, read to them, tell them family stories, take a walk on an undiscovered path, laugh at the absurd, marvel at the little things. When does your child experience joy? It may simply be swinging in a park. Pause and listen to your child.
Our ultimate goal as parents and educators is to nurture happy, productive, balanced human beings who confidently pursue their own futures in an increasingly pressured and uncertain world. Counteract the stress of daily living by giving yourself and your child the gift of time.
West Side Montessori is an independent, accredited Montessori school educating children 13 months through 8th grade (preschool, kindergarten, elementary school and middle school). We are one of the leading private schools in Toledo, and the nation.