A Wake Up Call: Time to start teaching my own child

So this blog post has been in my drafts for 6 months without getting published. This meeting was a pivotal moment for me in how I see my role as a mother and how I interact with my daughter, so I’m going to dust it off and publish it. Lesson learned, I will try very hard to make sure blog posts do not just fester in Open Office.

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So today I had a bit of a wake up call. A and I were at baby group; she was crawling around, exploring some books and I got speaking to another mum. Her daughter,who was notably older than A, was an absolute angel and I couldn’t help but watch her in awe. She would play with toys calmly, walk carefully around all of the other sprawling children and lovingly pat my daughter.

She exuded intelligence, great manners and a well developed character. My teacher antenna, which is usually very accurate, calculated that she was around three years old so I was even more astounded to discover that she was not yet two.

I spoke to her mum to try to work out what the secret was.The- not- yet two year old prodigy had older siblings which tends to boost development, however there was something else there. I dug further; her mum worked in early years and used what she had learnt in her job with her daughter.

The pieces of the puzzle seemed to fit but this left me feeling disappointed in my self. I am a Primary School Teacher and have been so for almost seven years, most of my experience has been in the early years foundation stage. For some strange reason I did not think I could do much of the early years stuff I had learnt with A as I am used to teaching those who are at least three years old.

I told the super mum this, she looked me in the eyes and said with her East African twang ‘Do not undermine her, she can learn, just do things at her level’. Now thinking about it, it seems so obvious.

I did begin on the path of at least thinking of using my carefully cultivated teaching skills with A. I made sure I had a copy of the Early Years Foundation Stage guidance for example but I never did anything with it beyond having a flick through and recalling my memories of all of the activities it helped me to plan.

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Meeting this little girl today changed all that. I am not going to try to make A one of those kids who goes to university at 10 years old, if that happens great (though I’m not sure if that life so young is so great for social development) but that is not my aim. However, meeting this girl and her mum has made me realise that I need to at least to try to use some of what I have learnt on my own child. Now I feel so silly that I overlooked purposefully using my teaching skills on my daughter. I am not going to make it seem like school, she is no where ready for that and when school comes she’ll have plenty of super structured learning in a pressured environment. However she is now interested in pens for example and pencils to grab them out of my hand as I write. I’ve let her dabble in mark making a little bit but the teacher side of me knows about resources and activities that can enhance her development even further so I will use it.

I have dabbled a bit in activities that have drawn on my teaching skills and knowledge but from now on I’m going to consciously do this.

I have now decided but every week I will focus on an area of development that A seems to be interested in or could do with developing. I will make the activities fun, easy going and in line with her interests. I feel like the ‘new mum, oh my god what am I doing?’ side of me has gone and the knowledgeable, experienced, conscientious Early Years Teacher side of me has emerged out of hibernation. I’m looking forward to looking after my gorgeous A with my teacher brain plugged in a bit more often.

Update on A

Age 9 months and 3 weeks

New skills: Crawling, lifting herself up whilst holding onto everything and anything

Recent i love being a mum moment: snotty, wet kisses all over my face yesterday as she held onto me

Current Quotes: ‘The hand of god can be in our lives in unexpected ways through unexpected encounters’

© Mummy Blossom 2018

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