I wasn’t very good at making meaningful play experiences with J when he was a baby and young toddler. I let him play on his own and would often join in on his play, but I didn’t really provide him with many new play experiences. I guess I thought was a bit too young and I wasn’t really quite sure what to do. You see, I understand toddlers much better than infants. If I knew then what I know now…I’d done it totally different.
Well, when J turned 14 months old and went down to one nap, I decided to start doing more activities with him. We started off by doing a lot of good hands on activities, like finger painting and painting with water. J had a blast and I was happy.
Then I noticed that J wasn’t really talking and that’s when I started the comparing him to other kids…read here if you want more on this story. So, I decided to do a theme each week and work on J’s vocabulary. Basically, this is where I took all my education and experience and threw it out the window. I worked hard with J to discuss farm animals, zoo animals, pets, things that go, etc. I even had J make a different zoo animal each day and we had an entire zoo after two weeks! This was a great idea for a 3 year old…not a 15 month old! We had a color of the week and I tried really hard to get my son to make animal noises. I was pushing and our activities weren’t fun anymore.
I had broken my own rules:
- Stay within your child’s abilities – I was pushing him to make things that were way too advanced for his age.
- Don’t push – Your child will develop in his own time and at his own speed. Again..I was pushing.
- Let your child lead – I was forcing J to do the activities the way I wanted him to do them. I didn’t really let him make things the way he wanted to make them.
I did these things all under the idea that I was trying to educate him….haha. I’m amazed at how I know that children will grow at their own pace in their own time, but I wasn’t allowing my child to do this. I was pushing and having much higher expectations for him than he could ever achieve. It’s amazing how someone who knows better makes such big mistakes.
I am not proud and actually feel horrible about my mistakes. However, I thought it was important that I do write it. I want others to see that even someone who understands kids and has spent a large part of their adulthood learning with and working with children can mess up so majorly. Now that I’ve gotten my head screwed back on right I have started playing with J in a more appropriate away. J and I are now enjoying our activity time, and each other, much, much more.
Anyone else do this or break your own rules when it came to parenting?