Teaching Your Toddler Too Much ~ Chris

Yeah, it’s totally possible!  Take it from a friend of ours, a teacher taking time off to raise her two boys.  She and my wife recently had a conversation about her son who was board to tears – in kindergarten!  She figured she was doing the right thing by teaching him to count, the alphabet, and started him on reading.  She discovered something totally different when she put her kid in school.

Despite being something parents would have done not long ago, teaching their kids the basics, today’s parents instead, wait for a “specialist” to take over.  We employ specialists to do everything for us, from hem our clothing, to clean our houses, to preparing our foods (processed store-bought).  In fact, the list of people we employ is as endless as there are professions.

The average parent figures that it’s the schools job to educate their children.  I’ve even heard parents make complaints about how little their children learn at school and how they don’t learn the basics about life there.  What?!?  Since when is teaching your child how to do basic things someone else’s job?  From a teacher’s perspective, kids come to school not even knowing how to catch a ball, any of their basic letters or shapes, sometimes not even potty trained!  Some kids are coddled to the point where they can barely function productively and have routine meltdowns during the first few months of class until they figure out it’s not tolerated.  Surprisingly, these kids are ready and able to take instruction.  In fact, for the most part, they far too ready and their parents have missed their hunger for learning.

This blog entry has a dual purpose.  For one, you shouldn’t over-teach your children before they get to school.  Why?  Because he’ll be turned off by school.  He’ll suffer from the stress that comes with trying to tolerate misbehaved children coupled with the shear boredom from a lack of challenge as he waits for his classmates to catch up.  The story from our friend was that her son would show signs of stress when the other children couldn’t even sit still or would run around like savages.  Parents of children today should fully expect to be immersed in an environment full of both well behaved children and exceedingly poorly behaved children.  There will be some middle ground, but for your well-behaved and learned child, it won’t matter much.  An overachiever may be looked at in just a poor a light as an underachiever.  It’s always the middle ground kids who win because they are what the lessons tailored for. I should also add that in far more instances, even underachieving children and especially challenged children are included in the classroom.  These kids usually have an extra teachers add to help them along.  However, in a lot of cases they can disrupt classrooms.  I won’t make a judgment either way, it’s just something that you should be aware of as you prepare your child for the real world.

What you can do?  Simple, focus on the basics and refrain from getting too far advanced.  What’s the point in pushing your child so far ahead that they become stressed about school.  If your toddler wants to learn, by all means do so, and make learning a part of play, but also factor in the above stated pitfalls.  Focus on the basics such as sitting calmly to read or listen to music, tying their laces and putting on their jacket, potty training, letters and numbers, but probably not reading (unless you really, really want to).

If your child is already ahead you can always consider moving your child ahead a grade, but I wouldn’t recommend this, or you can also teach your child at home where you can both experience a more personal pace of learning (which will be faster by the way).  Lastly, you might consider private schools, although these are expensive.

So while you might be gung-ho to turn your child into a super learner, I would strongly consider what avenue you wish to take.  While your intensions will be nothing but genuine, your efforts might backfire and do more harm than good.

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