Each month I am reminded of the best baby shower gift I have received – a subscription to Growing Child newsletter. Growing Child is a monthly newsletter, delivered via email or USPS on the birth date of your child so each month’s issue matches the age of the child. I love the newsletter because it helps me understand my boys: why they do things at certain times, what they’re learning by doing them, and what I can do to help them develop. I also love that its convenient, straight-forward parenting advice delivered TO ME every month, devoid of any commercial content.
The article below is from “Grandma Says”– a special newsletter from Growing Child, and free to anyone who would like to subscribe. I’m sharing this article because it really hit home for me, and serves as a reminder that patience is necessary and critical to parenting.
(Please note, I have no affiliation with Growing Child, nor am I being compensated for my endorsement. This recommendation come solely from my experiences as parent).
“GRANDMA SAYS” COUNT THE DAYS
I overheard a conversation between a preschool teacher and the parent of a child in her two-year-old class. The mother was concerned about her child’s clingy behaviors when she was saying goodbye in the morning.
She went on to comment on a recent occurrence of hitting when playing on the playground. The mother looked increasingly anxious.
The teacher was sympathetic and supportive in her comments. Finally she said, “Remember the days.”
Seeing the mother’s puzzled expression, the teacher went on, “Sarah has only been here on earth for about seven hundred and fifty days. She’s had a lot to learn in that time. Let’s give her more days.” The mother left, looking very thoughtful.
It is good for all of us involved with young children to “remember the days”. When they arrived, our children brought nothing more with them than their senses.
They also brought an enormous capacity to learn, and they have been using that every waking moment since. Since the muscles and nervous system often are not well under control, gaining mastery of their bodies took months.
Using their own unique physical and cognitive abilities or challenges, children have absorbed the world that surrounds them and made it their own, adopting the language and customs of those around them. It took most of the first year to gain control of a rapidly growing body, with a focused determination that is literally palpable in those first efforts to turn over, and then to propel themselves through space.
During that same year, they learned to love and respond to others, and to communicate with them.
The gains of those first three hundred and sixty-five or so days are so obvious, so measurable, so easily checked off on a milestones list, that it is easy then to count the days and marvel at the accomplishment.
After that, as the walking, talking young human appears, it is easy to lose sight of the thousands of other bits of learning that go into becoming a fully functioning person.
Like the preschool mother, we often find ourselves impatient for children to demonstrate understanding of the complexity of relationships with others and the nuances of emotional and self-control. After all, they look and sound like miniatures of us, so why are they still having trouble with separation or social skills?
We tell them, and then we expect that lesson to have been learned, forgetting how very many attempts had to be made when the infant was trying to grasp a toy, for example. Days, enough days, and lots of opportunities to practice, experiment, and make mistakes, are what is needed for the more complex learnings of the second, third, fourth, and fifth years. It’s always a shock to me to go back into the preschool where I observe in the fall, and see how very young, indeed small, the new four-year-old class is.
That’s because I am remembering the class I said goodbye to in May, who were about two hundred days older than this new batch. So I give myself the necessary imaginary slap against the head, and remind myself to do what I am suggesting to you: “Count the days.”
© Growing Child 2013 www.GrowingChild.com
A great reminder – thank you ‘Grandma’!