Recently, my daughter’s school had a “Bike Day,” when children could bring their bikes/scooters to school and ride freely in an empty parking lot. I saw several kids with those balance bikes (bikes without pedals/training wheels). I kid you not, some of these barely 4-year-olds were fully able to ride a 2-wheel bike because of these new bikes. I was astounded.
I found myself jumping online to look for this particular bike that would help my 4-year-old learn to ride like a pro. Then I stopped to think – am I becoming THAT mom, who is constantly pushing her children to learn everything sooner than they really need to? When my kids were infants, I didn’t push them to do anything. Instead, I celebrated and enjoyed each little milestone that was reached. At 2-weeks-old I wasn’t forcing my little one to hold her head up high and at 2-months-old I wasn’t buying devices to help her to sit up – why do I find myself looking to do this now?
Whether we like it or not it’s human nature to compare and feel pressure from outside influences. Take potty training, for instance. Many of us feel so much pressure to potty train – and quick, but do you know any tweens still in diapers? My older daughter wasn’t fully potty-trained till she was almost four. This made my mother and mother-in-law crazy. They became obsessed with the fact that other 2-year-olds were potty-trained and mine wasn't. They would even try to accomplish the feat while they were babysitting. For what?
Recently, I was talking to a friend who chose to start her son in kindergarten at 6 instead of 5 (which so many parents do), so he could have another year to mature and develop. She was telling me about the ridiculous comments she got from others accusing her of trying to give her son an advantage in sports. Are you kidding me?
I understand that we live in a competitive world, but these are our babies! Whether you choose to breastfeed yours till he’s 12, start them on “your baby can read” at age 2, or keep her in diapers till 5, do you what you want to do when you think it's right for your child. Today's post serves as a little reminder to myself to slow down and let my kids be kids at their own pace, because the incredible freedom that IS childhood does not last long.