Thursday, November 5, 2009

One Small Step For Mom...

Like many young families in our area, we attend story time at the library about once a week. Both Scientist and Sponge seem to enjoy it, and if nothing else it gets us out of the house for about an hour. One thing I enjoy about story time is watching the various ways parents interact with their children.

I’ve noticed at story time, and in other play group settings we’ve been involved in, that some parents choose to try and force their kids to participate in the activities, sing the songs, or do the hand motions, etc. that are a part of the story time entertainment. Phrases like, “We’re here for you, if you don’t want to participate then we’re going home.” or, “They put a lot of time into preparing this, now you need to sit here and sing along.” are the kinds of things I’ve heard.

I decided early on, that I was not going to require Scientist (or Sponge after he came along) to do anything at story time but be nice to the other kids. If he wanted to participate, great; if he wanted to just sit there and watch, great. I also decided that I would participate (sing the songs, clap my hands, and so on) and be excited about story time, to see if my enthusiasm would rub off.

Scientist, although pretty outgoing, gets really shy at the library. He mainly chooses to sit there, and I choose to let him. Then, yesterday for the very first time, without my doing anything differently, Scientist stood up when they started to sing the songs. He clapped his hands, stomped his feet, jumped up and down, at the right times. He went down and sat on the magic story blanket for the story. And he watched the puppet show all the way through. It occurred to me that sometimes, maybe a lot of the time, the things we help our kids learn will be through the example we set, and not what we nag, push, and prod them to do against their will. And also that kids have their own timetable for things and they’ll do them when they're ready.

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