As parents you are constantly worrying about your children, whether they are grown ups, teenagers, toddlers or babies. It’s a natural instinct that a parent adopts once they are born. But sometimes you can be so focused on comparing your child’s development journey to others that you end up stressing about things that you shouldn’t even need to.
You probably pick up a parenting book which says your child should be walking or talking at this age, or particularly in today’s society, compare yourself to other mums on social media, whether they are your fellow friends or celebrities.This is not a healthy approach to adopt.
Every child is different and will develop at their own pace, so it doesn’t matter if they are not the same ability as other children of their age. It does not mean that there is something wrong with them.
Try Not to Push Them Towards Certain Activities or Pastimes
This is probably the number one error that a lot of parents are guilty of doing. It is quite easy to push onto a child a certain hobby or sport that you perhaps enjoy that you want your child to adopt to as well. But there is certainly a difference between playing your favourite artists’ music at home in the background which your child might end up liking as they get older and forcing them into a physical sport because you want them to be competitive professionally as you didn’t get a chance to pursue this sport in your own childhood.
When they are still young you can encourage them to be creative or learn to play with their toys independently but it’s also important not to be pushy. You need to allow your child to develop naturally at their own learning pace.
Professor Yong Zhao, based in the University of Oregon, who led an Educational Leadership Conference in Singapore several years ago said that “education should focus on developing a child’s strengths, not fixing their deficiencies”. He also discussed the idea that it’s important to encourage creativity and celebrate individuality at home as well as in school. Yes the importance of reading fluency is ideal, but it does not matter if one of your children reached this milestone before the other child or they are not reading a story by themselves by a particular milestone that your parenting guides suggest they should.
Don’t Compare Amongst Siblings
It’s all too common for parents to compare behavioural activities amongst siblings, but it is important to remember that they are different individuals. What worked for one child might not necessarily work for the other. So if your older child ended up talking and walking at a particular age, this doesn’t mean that your second child will reach these goals at the exact same time.
It’s good to encourage activities together like play time or sitting down together to paint at the table or maybe do a jigsaw puzzle, but you want to try and avoid creating too much competition between the two as this could encourage feelings of jealousy. It might be difficult when your two children are at different stages age wise and you’re struggling to juggle feeding a young baby and looking after a toddler but if you get accustomed to doing activities around the house where you can include both children that would be ideal.
It could be having both of them in the kitchen as you cook, reading a story verbally to your older child as you settle the younger one down for a nap, doing a creative activity with both of them, where they can do a different task creatively but ultimately both work towards creating the same goal, and going out for nature walks where they can explore new sights, sounds and smells and you can teach them about the different flowers and trees that you pass by.
Asking for Help When Necessary
The positive aspect of social media and the internet is that if you do have any concerns or worries you can always find some positive parenting tips when you feel you’re struggling or are not sure of ideas of how to encourage activities with your child or amongst siblings. The most important things you can always do are nurture, love, be encouraging and provide lots of hugs. You can never have enough hugs for your little ones.