My eldest will be starting Kindergarten next year and I have found myself thinking about what an almost 4-year-old should know by this stage as he enters a more structured learning environment.
I have felt myself comparing his abilities to that of his friends, talking to other mums and reading numerous school readiness articles. I have noticed that he doesn’t recognise all the letters yet, he hasn’t mastered the pencil grip, he certainly isn’t a dab hand with scissors and his drawings of people still look a lot like potatoes.
It wasn’t until a friend of mine recently shared a blog post with me that my worries melted away. I realised that my son does tick all the boxes – the ones that count, anyway. My son is loved and he is loving. He is funny, smart and silly. My son is confident and brave and stubborn and kind.
He knows what he likes - climbing trees, dressing up, playing in the mud, sticks, being read to, wrestling and of course his favourite mid-week meal, chicken dippers. He also knows what he doesn’t like - sitting still, being quiet, napping and I still haven’t managed to convince him to eat tomatoes. He loves to hug and kiss and to be hugged and kissed. He tells me when he’s sad or happy or angry. Even though he may not always convey this in words, he sure does get his message across.
But most reassuring of all is that thinks he is amazing and he knows that we think so too. Childhood shouldn’t be a race. You can’t lose at being four.
Rather than striving for this imaginary finish line, let’s champion fun. Let us allow our children to feel safe, accepted and like they belong. Let’s encourage them to be happy and kind to each other and as parents let’s take the pressure off ourselves. Let’s stop comparing our children to others, let them explore, discover and love who they are, as we will find they are exactly where they need to be!
Megan Meineke is the Marketing and Communications Manager at New Leaf Early Learning Centre in Forest Glen. When Megan isn’t busy helping create amazing experiences for other children, she is busy doing the same with her own. For more information on New Leaf Early Learning Centre’s in Forest Glen and Alexandra Headland, visit their website here.