I’m not a fan of ‘Hothousing kids’ an 80s term for pushing your kids to learn beyond their cognitive age. My daughter is only 4 and I’m a strongly believe in her learning via play at the moment; whether it’s a gentle introduction to Maths via board games, a Science lesson by walking through the park collecting leaves, fostering an interest in Literacy through bedtime stories and trips to the library, a Geography lesson when Daddy is watching the rugby, History by telling her about her grandparents, or ICT by letting her have a bit of screen time.
Why I worry
I understand that parents want to prepare their children for school but I do worry about the pressure they’re putting on their children, as research has shown that pushing children at an early age can have detrimental affects to their learning down the road. I see it all the time: signing 3 year olds up for piano lessons, Baby Yoga, Baby Signing, daily flashcard sessions and of course don’t forget the Baby Einstein series.
Am I a hypocrite?
However, I had a chat with Madame on Friday night, amongst our normal bedtime routine and she declared that she doesn’t like school, it’s boring. Of course, I asked her why and she said it’s because they ‘won’t let her learn letters and numbers’ and asked me if I would teach her.
I appreciate why the nursery is not doing this at the moment as their ethos is learning via play which I like, however they do send homework sheets home on a Friday. But as an ex-teacher, I’ve humoured her and printed some hand-writing sheets. She absolutely loves doing them and seems to have the fine-motor skills and stamina to do it.
Was this a bad idea? I wouldn’t have done it if she hadn’t asked…..
I would love to hear your thoughts on this. Is this another result of ‘competitive parenting’ ? Will my daughter be left behind if I don’t do it? What’s the worst case of Hothousing you’ve seen?
I was absolutely horrified to read in a paper a few weeks ago, that 1 in 3 children in London do not own a book! One child, when asked to bring a book into school, brought an Argos catalogue as this was the only book in the house. Bloody hell! I believe this stems to busy parents, economics and the advent of technology. Kids prefer an X-box/Playstation to a book any day. I’m not pointing fingers, as working parents ourselves, we’re guilty as well but personally I think this is very sad.
My hubby and I are not book worms, it’s not that we can’t read we just don’t read a lot, we prefer online magazines, newspapers, twitter and blogs. I also belong to a book club and have done so for 10 years but to be honest I rarely make it through a book.
However, ever since Madame was very young we’ve always emphasized reading and read her 3 books every night religiously, unless it’s a really long one then maybe only two. Even when we can’t be arsed and skip a few pages, sadly she’s at the age now that she pulls us up on it! As an ex-teacher you’ll be amazed at the benefits of reading to your kids for a mere 10 minutes a night. Sorry, I’ll get off my soapbox now!
Like with anything, including wine, moderation is the key. I’m an IT consultant who works in education and have done so for the past 10+ years. I don’t know how many times I’ve said that technology is to compliment what you’re doing and not to replace. My daughter is 3.5 and is a complete whizz on my iphone, I have it loaded up with games, music and videos for her…but the difference is they all have an educational element, she’s none the wiser. You won’t find Angry birds on my phone.
Nothing compares to breaking the spine on a new book, turning the pages and losing yourself!
This weekend, we sorted out Madame’s reading corner. I was inspired by Trapped in North Jersey. We’re very limited on space but I think it’s perfect. They’re picture ledges from Ikea (115cm) and only £8 each, bargain! What do you think?