I read somewhere the other day that a mum thought she was a “bad mum” because she hadn’t put her 4 year old in swimming lessons. I read this stuff all the time. ‘Timmy can’t to count to 100 and he’s 3″ or “Francis is 2 and can’t tell the difference between blue and green” or “Jane can’t play Beethoven on the piano and she’s 4”. Ok maybe a big stretch there…
But it got me wondering, am I a “bad mum”? My toddler has never done swimming lessons, we only went to a few sessions of gymbaroo, he doesn’t have music lessons, there is no second language classes, no sport lessons, no pre-school…the list goes on.
Honestly, if not enrolling my children in 101 activities before they go to school makes me a bad mum, then I guess I’m a bad mum! I figure when they start school they will have enough to worry about. There will be the music, sports, language classes. There will be the learning, the stress of homework…
What there won’t be is me. There won’t be mum 24 hours a day, giving praise, giving hugs and kisses.
Now, don’t think I don’t want what’s best for my kids. I do. I want them to succeed in everything they do. But by letting them play and use that imagination, I believe I am doing what’s best. I let them get naked and play in mud and water. I take them to the pool. To the park, and to story time. I let them crawl, climb and get grubby. All this is the foundation for learning. What can someone else teach him that I can’t?
If you ask the toddler what did we do this morning, he wouldn’t be able to tell you without some help. But show him 25 trains and he could name them all. Give him a drum stick and a bowl, he will make a drum kit and bash away for hours. Leave him with blocks and he will sort them into colours and be able to say all the colours. He can count to 10, with help. He will set up his shop and sell you toys for 2 million dollars each! He can climb up almost anything, and then have no fear and jump off.
I don’t think he is missing out, I think he is having the best time learning by himself. He’s forever asking “what’s that say?” I’m 100% sure he will be fine. He will learn ‘normally’ and I hope he enjoys being a kid for now. If all I can offer him right now is the chance to play, then that’s what I’ll give him. Growing up and classes will come later, when he’s ready.