Are you a worried parent?
You are not alone! As a mom of 4 kiddos, I am not a stranger to worry. Parents have so many things to worry about. I think the list can look something like this: is my child developing appropriately, are they learning enough, are they eating well, will they make friends, am I parenting all wrong, how do I support my child emotionally, and on and on! Well, we hope to put an end to one of these worries today! The number one thing to stop worrying about today, is: Is my child learning enough?
Is my child learning enough?
Okay, how many times have you thought about this question? Is my child learning enough? Are they reaching benchmarks for reading and math? Oh, and my child is only 4 years old. Hmmm...mama, you are in no need to worry. We want to ease your stress and let you know that at this age, learning IS happening! There is so much stress about academic learning at such a young age. The good news is, research has shown that kids learn best through...PLAY! Through play, learning happens naturally. They even learn more than just their ABCs and 123s! They learn about their world around them, how to communicate, emotional regulation, and more!
Guess what, through play they gain lifelong skills! Things that can't be taught in a textbook or with flashcards. Learning through trial and error, creativity, confidence, and learning to take risks are just a few things that children can learn through play.
What is more important than learning to read by a certain age or count to 100...building connections! The act of trusting someone, loving someone, and gaining confidence because of a trusted relationship, is invaluable! If you focus on these relationships and connecting with your child, the learning, believe it or not, happens more! When the child builds confidence because of their loving relationships, learning is so much easier! Yes, everyone learns at a different stage, but wouldn't it be so nice to help them learn easier? I know that when I am not afraid to ask questions, or not afraid to make mistakes, I am much more in the right mindset to learn something new. What about you? Do you feel that way too?
Even if your child is, what some experts say, "behind” in learning how to read/write, what do you do? There is really “no behind”. Everyone learns at their own pace. Focus on the positive. Focus on what progress you have seen. Just watch them put a puzzle together, or create a masterpiece with their drawing tools. They are constantly thinking and constantly problem solving. This is one of my favorite stages, from ages 3-6yrs old. I love watching a child figure things out. When they learn from trial and error, is when they are building those connections in their brain. There is quite a bit that goes into learning how to write: fine motor skills, hand/eye coordination, patience, and more. Some things just aren't meant to be rushed. Everyone learns at their own pace.
Time To Stop Worrying!
So, hopefully we have helped ease your worries about "is my child learning enough?" Young learners just need to play. You can engage with them or quietly watch from the sidelines (a combination of this is great), but, bottom line, play is essential. Building connections, inspiring confidence, and learning, happen through play. Happy, healthy kids have an abundance of play! We hope you are at least a little less worried then when you started reading this blog.
Tell us in the comments, what is your child's favorite type of play activity!