Pushing kids too hard too early

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?



Christmas Comes Far Too Early

Photo Credit

I must admit I’m a wee bit Bah Humbug when it comes to Christmas.  I absolutely love the aspect of excessive eating, drinking and spending time with family and friends but the over-commercialisation of it gets on my wick.  So, when I learned that Selfridges Christmas Shop opened on the 2nd August, 145 days before the big day, I was horrified.  They claim that it’s so that tourists can buy things and ship home in time for Christmas but I think they’ve gone too far.

This is going to be the first year that Madame will really know what it is all about and I’m looking forward to being able to wield the threat of no visit from Santa if she’s naughty, but if I have to start fending her off mid-summer I’ll never last.

I don’t plan on going as far as the individuals behind the ‘Movement for the Containment of Christmas’ in Leeds and threaten to put superglue in shopkeeper’s locks if they ‘dare to slip into the Yuletide spirit too early’.  However, if I see Christmas decorations or hear any Christmas Carols before the 1st of November I’m going to seriously consider shopping elsewhere!  That should save me a fortune as I won’t have anywhere to shop!