Stop buying curriculum.
Stop patrolling Pinterest.
Stop looking at art supplies.
Stop reading online forums.
Stop it with the workbooks and the printouts.
Stop comparing your children to other people's.
Stop stressing out that your child might be "behind."
You do not need to "create a preschool" at home and you do not need a teaching degree.
Do you know what you need?
... and a library card. Seriously, go get one!
Do you know what your child needs?
All you need to do is... let them play!
Don't expect young children to be able to sit. They can't! They don't need worksheets and busy work. They need stories and playtime. Read bedtime stories, play together, sing songs together, make a mess in your kitchen together, go outside, play with friends, look at bugs, go on a nature walk, play quietly by themselves, listen to birds sing, make mudpies... and did I mention play? Live in the moment. Young children learn best while they play. They need physical action, not boring table work.
Our children grow so fast. Enjoy this moment. Worksheets can wait. Engage your kids in conversations and activities and they will thrive. The activities don't need to be complicated either. Just ask them what they want to do and you will be off on an adventure in no time.
Kids don't "get behind" when they are young. Even if you don't teaching reading until the child is 7 or 8, it is OK! Studies have shown whether a child can read at age 3 or age 8, by the time the kids are about 11 or 12, it all evens out so don't pressure your young kids to read or write. They will get there in time.
This poem is something you should read. And think on it.
I Took His Hand and Followed
Mrs. Roy L. Peifer
My dishes went unwashed today,
I didn't make the bed,
I took his hand and followed
Where his eager footsteps led.
Oh yes, we went adventuring,
My little son and I...
Exploring all the great outdoors
Beneath the summer sky.
We waded in a crystal stream,
We wandered through a wood...
My kitchen wasn't swept today
But life was gay and good.
We found a cool, sun-dappled glade
And now my small son knows
How Mother Bunny hides her nest,
Where jack-in-the-pulpit grows.
We watched a robin feed her young,
We climbed a sunlit hill...
Saw cloud-sheep scamper through the sky,
We plucked a daffodil.
That my house was neglected,
That I didn't brush the stairs,
In twenty years, no one on earth
Will know, or even care.
But that I've helped my little boy
To noble manhood grow,
In twenty years, the whole wide world
May look and see and know.
So take your child's hand today and see where you are led. Perhaps you will be knights fighting a dragon, or maybe you will be digging for dinosaur bones, or you'll be on a safari looking for animals, or maybe you will be building the tallest building in the world! But no matter what you are doing, have fun and don't stress. It's play, after all.
A mom who should listen to her own advice more often.