The other day my son was playing with one of his favorite toys, his “choo choo” as he calls it. He was trying to reattach the cars to the engine hook. I sat next to him watching and almost offered my help, but instead I made myself wait a moment to see if he could do it on his own. Sure enough, after just a few moments of trial and error, he connected it by himself, and I saw a split-second look of satisfaction at his job well done. I have a tendency to want to jump in and help when my kids get stuck on something, instead of waiting to see if he or she can work it out on his or her own.
I don’t know if there is anything quite as rewarding as watching my child learn something new. Lately I’ve been trying to take a good hard look at the way I parent, and I’m trying to be more aware of the things I say, how I say it, and the things I do. My kids are at a crucial age. They’re like pliable little pieces of play-dough and I don’t want to mess them up.
I’ve been trying the same “wait and watch” approach with my daughter. Since we have our Disney trip coming up this weekend, I wanted to come up with a fun surprise reveal the morning we leave. Part of the reveal includes a letter that says “We are going to…” and then a photo on the next page with a picture of Disney World. Since she couldn’t read those words yet I decided now was a good time to practice some sight words.
To be honest I don’t know anything about reading strategy. I know someday my kids will learn how to read when they’re ready. It’ll come together. I’ve realized there’s no point in being competitive about it, the important thing is I’m there to guide them along the way when they’re excited and ready.
I wrote down those four words, and a handful more to throw her off. I was so surprised when she picked them up in one afternoon. And she pulls them out to practice every day, even asking me to write down more words she can memorize and add to her sentences. When I notice her stumbling or searching for a word I want to jump in and help her out, but I’ve told myself to back off and let her work until she asks for help.
There have been too many times where I’ve stressed about doing the right things. Using the right techniques and toys to help my kids become the best they can be. But as I get the hang of this motherhood thing I’ve realized it’s not so much about the specifics as much as it’s about caring, listening and guiding when needed.
It’s about reading together, and playing together. It’s about finding ways to learn in everything we do, with toys or random objects around the house. It’s about having fun, and developing a love for learning.
I’ve had the wonderful opportunity to act as a Fisher-Price Insider for the last several months, learn about the company, what they stand for, see behind-the-scenes of all the thought, work and love that goes into the toys we love. I’ve given some advice to other parents and have enjoyed sharing in the joy and struggles with you all.
Although I’ll still be here blogging here for, well, hopefully a long, long time. My time as a Fisher-Price Insider is coming to an end. If you missed some you can read all about my posts here, and continue to reach out with your questions using the hashtag #FPInsiders. As a farewell we’d like to offer a giveaway for a Smart-Stages Train like the one my son loves pictured above, or a 3 in 1 Bounce, Stride and Ride Elephant, just leave a comment letting me know which one you’d like.