Tuesday, 17 April 2012

Being bright

                It's lovely to have a bright child, but people can really bring you down about it!!

Working in childcare settings in the past , I have come across many parents who have joined the setting full of praise towards their child who can "count to ten and knows all their colours!!" at the age of two. I remember sighing to myself and wondering why they couldn't just let their children be children instead of sitting them down to teach them numbers etc at such a young age.

But now I am a parent myself, I realise that things are not always as clear cut as people may think. Our daughter is 21 months old and has begun to count to ten (albeit a few numbers adrift!) and can name 6 colours. I have never sat her down and taught her these things, she has simply picked them up from my constant conversations to her and from the children she plays with regularly. She was an early talker, saying her first few words from 8 months onwards, and has just seems to pick up words and phrases with great ease.

Too many people, such as myself in the past, judge parents of bright children without knowing the ins and outs of what their lives are like. It is easy to jump to the conclusion that a parent is pushy, or that I for example have not allowed my daughter to play and be herself, but if you knew me you would see that in fact I am doing exactly that! She does learn through her play and her everyday experiences, nit by me sitting her down and telling her.

I was reading an article about a six month old who can use the potty with dry nappies and communicate with her parents to indicate her needs. It was easy to imagine that her parents were pushing her to be dry, potty training too early, but when you read their story, you begin to realise that they are just nurturing what their baby can do. Of course, I didn't agree with everything the parents explained they do in the article on a personal level, but what is important is that they were listening to their child and observing her to find out what she can do and how she learns.

I have had comments from people telling me that my daughter will start getting bored at school or how I am becoming "one of THOSE parents", I am sure without meaning to be harsh, but I have taken these things to heart as they don't see how my daughter has learnt what she knows and how she learns from her play experiences and those around her.

The message I am trying to send here is that if a child is bright, we should be looking to embrace it and nurture their abilities rather than labelling the parents. Yes, there are some pushy parents out there, but not all parents with bright children are like that. As long as the child enjoys learning, is happy, socialised and always playing then what is the big issue???

What are your thoughts?

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