By Sylvia Arotin

I know as parents and educators we just want the best for our children, to be the best they can be and to reach for the stars, and no doubt they will. They will reach when they are ready, if they are ready and all in the right moment in time.

Too often we place our expectations onto children based on a culmination of society’s views and pressures, what we believe they should be doing and achieving due to ‘developmental milestones’, family or educator opinions. We often compare our children to the one who is sitting calmly, packing away nicely, playing independently and sharing with their sibling and think ‘why can’t my child be like that?’ When I ask them to leave the park why can’t they just listen and leave (wouldn’t that be a dream!).

We often overlook the small wins our children are having because we have set the bar higher, without even realising we are doing it. The constant “hurry up”, “how many times have I told you”, “why did you do that”, “come on, pack away” etc… doesn’t allow children to be in that moment and respond, rather it almost puts them down for not living up to that expectation we have of them, that they need to do something right now and ‘this way’ (because our way we feel of course is the best way). We can also be hindering their development by breaking their concentration, constantly inputting our ideas and thoughts onto them rather than trying to observe and understand their own ideas and thoughts.

Sometimes we have to slow down and really observe our children and where they are at compared to where they were yesterday, or last week, or last month. Celebrate the small achievements they have made in their world and appreciate them for their ideas. Be with them in that moment and enjoy the smiles along the way. Take the pressure off yourself and just be in that moment to share the joys, the struggle, the journey WITH the child. By meeting the child where they are at, you are able to support them to be the best version of themselves by guiding and facilitating rather than instructing and placing expectations onto them, they may not be ready for.

Follow the child and they will lead you to where you need to be.

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