I am part of an online group for mom’s of boys. The group lets you post anonymous questions to the other mothers, for their advice.
One day last week a mom posted this question: “My almost 5 year old son is enrolled in preschool three days a week. His teacher brought it to my attention that he has trouble staying on task while doing his work. I have noticed this at home, but mostly when he is having to do something he doesn’t want to do. He doesn’t really enjoy coloring and I know he has to do a lot of that at school. He is very intelligent and has never been delayed in development. Any advice on how I can work with him at home to help him stay on task at school?”
To my shock the answers to the question were all along the lines of how to actually help this kid stay on task. None of the moms addressed the fact that THIS KID IS 4 YEARS OLD, 4 year olds aren’t capable of staying on task for more than 5 minutes. Literally! Unless its watching a Disney film, or playing with legos, you won’t get a 4 yr old to sit still all day doing coloring pages. I’m sorry, it just isn’t going to happen.
In today’s culture we have taken away a child’s childhood.
There I said it.
We are so concerned with giving them a leg up on the neighbors kids that we have forgot to let them be kids.
When a child comes home from preschool, or Kindergarten with homework then you know it has gone too far.
I know it is old school, but I’m not a fan of putting kids in preschool. I understand if you have to put a child in daycare, or a preschool while one or both parents work, but I don’t understand putting a child in preschool just to give him an advantage down the road.
Kids coming up today aren’t getting time to just be kids. To be messy. To be unorganized. To just sit and chill and let their imagination take them to unknown frontiers. They aren’t given time to just be.
Instead we organize every waking second and some of their sleeping seconds. We sit them in a chair for 8 hours a day and expect them to sit there, do coloring pages, write the alphabet, or whatever the preschool teacher comes up with to fill the time, and we expect them to do it perfectly, without moving.
Children have this amazing ability to see outside the box, to see a butterfly flit across the sky and think they can fly along with it. They see a big pile of sand and envision skyscrapers that will take them to the moon. They pick up a stick and it suddenly becomes a magic wand, a light saber, a twirling baton, a snake, a gun, you name it, a simple broken stick has infinite possibilities in a child’s hands.
We take that away from them when we scheduled them, put them in an air conditioned room, and stifle their creativity.
They need to get outside, get stinky and dirty. They need to explore, and use their imaginations and just chill and relax.
When we have more kids on medications for attention disorders, depression, and anxiety, than are drug free, then we have to look to our society and see why.
We stopped letting kids be kids.