It was a very innocent Thursday. I was casually scrolling through social media catching up on what was going on in my friends’ lives. There was a video of Cindy’s four-year-old swinging independently for the very first time, a huge win for that little guy! Carly went to the water park with her littles. Sarah posted a video of her 3-year-old naming every shape, even a rhombus! Clark had a picture of him and his daughter sitting in their rocking chair enjoying a chapter book together.
“My daughter can’t name that many shapes, and she’s 4.”
It was an intrusive thought, but it still felt very real.
“She’s starting kindergarten soon, should I be reading chapter books to her?”
These thoughts are coming into my mind even after I’ve written countless articles on this very platform about not stressing over kindergarten readiness and really trying to hit home that what kids that age really need is copious amounts of freedom and play. I’ve scoured research articles, and other online posts, and I’ve even watched my own kids grow and develop. Yet somehow, I’m still here in this position. I’m seeing friends post about their 5-year-old reading entire sentences and writing his own Christmas list phonetically, wondering if I should work harder with my 4-year-old because there is no way she would be doing the same thing at his age. She’s still hit or miss on knowing all 26 letters. Never mind capital versus lowercase.
Even with my background in education and the years of research I’ve done for this blog, I’m still falling hard for buying into the fast track of kinder readiness. I cannot even imagine the amount of pressure parents feel to make sure their kids are doing everything and anything they can to read in preschool and get ahead so they can be the smartest and the best by kindergarten.
So here’s my reminder, to you and to myself.
Your child is doing great.
You can drop the expensive, intensive preschools and they are going to be just fine. Better off, probably.
If together you are talking, singing, reading, writing (drawing, coloring), and playing, then you’re doing everything they need you to do.
Play is a child’s work. Play is not a worksheet or studying magnets shaped like letters or shapes.
If your child is not reading before kindergarten, they are not behind. If your child isn’t reading by the end of kindergarten, they still aren’t behind!
Kids who learn to read at their own pace show a greater love and appreciation for reading later in life.
You are doing a really good job.
I know how stressful the push for kindergarten readiness is, I’ve fallen victim to it as well. It’s made me question if I’m not teaching my kids enough at times! Are they going to be smart enough to hold up in public school someday?
Don’t trust society’s push for your kid to cram everything into their little brains as fast as possible. Trust yourself. Trust your kids. That’s how you’re going to have the best shot at getting ready for kindergarten.
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