Don’t push your preschooler

ps_blocksDo you want your child to succeed? Are you concerned about possibly pushing your preschooler a little faster than they are prepared to go?

What can you do to help your child enjoy childhood while developing their potential.

n my 34th year of working with Preschoolers and their families, the best and most important counsel that I can give to moms is to enjoy each stage of their child’s a development without rushing forward to the next in hopes of pushing their children to develop at a quicker pace.

Possibly cliché.

However, I repeatedly observe the eager, well-meaning parent, in an effort to equip her child with the best start in life, waste energy and worry with no benefit or acceleration in her child’s development at all.

Of course, a child needs the provision of opportunity to achieve his/her fullest potential, but one can no more control the pace at which a child learns to crawl, walk, talk, read or write, etc. than he/she can control the teething process.

Further, although research has proved more than once that development comes at a set biological pace, there are numerous messages directed toward parents that suggest they are doing something wrong if their child isn’t the first to hit a particular milestone. The fact is, one simply cannot keep up with the Jones’s when it comes to child development.

Inasmuch, many parents find it relieving to understand that the level of effort (or lack of effort) spent “working” with their Preschooler/s to learn such skills such as counting, ABCs, reading, walking, etc., will do nothing to determine their child’s academic or intellectual success.

Conversely, it is not to suggest that parental engagement is not important. It is just the opposite in that it is essential in assuring your child a rich and fruitful childhood.

Louise Bates Ames, Ph.D., cofounder of Gesell Institute of Child Development, suggests that the following are a few things you can do to help your child (and yourself) get the most out of his/her Preschool years:

  1. Know what to expect. Understanding the stages of development that your child goes through will help you to better anticipate his/her needs and give you peace of mind that both desired and undesired behaviors your child exhibits are 100% a function of his/her stage of growth.
  2. Know your child’s individual personality. Even from birth a baby’s expression of feeding and sleeping needs can tell you a great deal about his/her personality.Remember that God did not design every little boy to embrace Little League and every little girl to have her heart set on captain of the cheerleading squad.

    Be sure to allow your child to develop in the direction that is natural for him/her. Yes, even if it means buying your son a baby doll if he wants one.

  3. Spend time with your child. This could be the most important thing you can do for your child. Listening to your child, playing with him/her, looking at whatever he/she is asking you to look at, etc. helps your child to learn more about him/herself.Really taking the time to enjoy your child by taking walks together, talking, listening and laughing together will make the most difference in building your child’s self-esteem so that he/she will be emotionally ready for academics when he/she is biologically ready.
  4. Keep your child healthy and well nourished. This cannot be overstated. Experts in the field of child behavior have commented that the crisis epidemic of such diagnoses of hyperactivity, ADD, ADHD, child depression and others are most often linked to poor nutrition and/or are manifest by food allergies in children.Be mindful of the amount of sugars and simple carbohydrates you allow for your child as well as any abnormal behavior/s a particular food or foods may cause.
  5. Read to them. The best and most important intellectual activity you can do with your child is read to him/her. When your child is getting ready to read for him/herself you will know by two good signs:
    1. He/she will look on when you read AND;
    2. He/she will ask what certain letters, alone or in combination, spell.Until he/she does these things of his/her own accord – and they come late in many children, especially in boys – you might as well save your efforts.
  6. Finally, I would add pray with them. Spontaneous prayers throughout the day teach them to be in constant communication with God.In everything you do, remember to thank God and rely on Him for guidance.

    For example, when you are drawing a picture with your child, you can say something as simple as, “Thank you God for red crayons.”

    Or, in a moment of behavior correction, you can remind your child to ask God’s forgiveness and thank Him for the grace He affords us through His son, Jesus.

    Modeling this behavior will do more for a child’s confidence than anything else you can do because it is teaching him/her to fully and constantly rely on God for everything.

Significantly, remember that your child’s intellectual (IQ) development is not all what will make him/her become a content and fulfilled person.

But also know that you are not neglecting your Preschooler’s mind or intellect if you are not teaching him/her to recite the ABCs or recognize letters or numbers or read and write, etc. Instead, you are teaching him/her all through the day by almost everything you do.

There is much to be learned in life besides formal school-type subjects and you would not want him/her to miss out on those things while he/she is struggling to master something that will eventually come naturally to him/her.

Think about it! How comforting it is to know that your child will grow to be exactly what God planned him/her to be without too much intervention on your part!

Delia Comon

The Preschool at North Phoenix Minister