My youngest child, Kenzie, is learning to crawl.
I sat for a while watching her, joyful, but also a little sad, when I started to think about her journey up until this point. Sitting. Rolling over. Laughing. Crawling. My point? She did all this on her own. I didn’t teach her how to do these things. I didn’t hold classes, ringing a little school bell saying, “Kenzie! Time for crawling lessons! Put your blocks away! It’s time for school!”
Absurd, right? But isn’t that what happens to kids everyday? They’re pulled away from enjoyable, often educational, activities to learn something they would have eventually learned on their own.
Now I know what some of you may be thinking. Some babies don’t do this on their own. Some have to have therapists come in and help them. I know. Three of my children had physical therapy because they were delayed because of low muscle tone. Did you catch that word? Delayed. Meaning, they’re not following a neat little chart stating what children should do when. I realize that some children truly do need this help, and I’m grateful it’s available to them. But the vast majority, including my children, would have eventually accomplished this themselves in their own time.
This is what happens in so many schools. Children are learning at a different time-table than what is expected, so they’re labeled as ”special needs, ” a label which often stigmatizes them, when there really is no problem. I can’t read the mind of God, but I’m pretty sure He created us as individuals- not as mindless robots programmed to all progress at the same speed in every area of life.
Children are individuals. They need to be given the opportunity to learn what they want/need to know when they need to learn it.
Another example of this theory is language. In her travels around the floor, Kenzie found the TV remote. I told her sister to take it from her before she put it in her mouth. Kenzie heard me say this. She looked at me, dropped the remote, and started to cry. She understood me!
She understood me without flash cards, and workbooks, and Mango Languages for Babies. She learned herself by being exposed to language all the time. This is how children learn best! This is how God wired them to learn- naturally.
Am I saying you should never expose children to new things they would otherwise have never known about? Absolutely not. We should provide a stimulating environment in which they should be able to learn, explore, and be the little scientists they are!
So the next time you’re ready to make your kids put their playdough away to ”do school,” reconsider. They’re already learning everyday.
12 thoughts on “Lessons from an 8-Month-Old- An Illustration of Natural Learning”
“So the next time you’re ready to make your kids put their playdough away to ”do school,” reconsider. They’re already learning everyday.”
That fits in so well with my latest blog post! Yes, everything is educational. Kids are learning all the time.
Kenzie looks like she is so pleased to be able to crawl!
Oh, she is! The older children are mesmerized by the whole process.
Oh, she is! My other children have been mesmerized by the whole process.
This is so true. I think we worry too much about kids not being “caught up” when really they learn in their own timing.
This is great to read! Admittedly, I became so caught up in milestones during my son’s first year, and panicked when our new pediatrician suggested EI because he wasn’t saying “mama” or “dada” by 12 months. What she didn’t ask was whether or not he communicated, which he did. EI came in, he tested 3-5 months older than he was. I anticipated most of his needs, and he, in turn, knew how to communicate he needs with gestures. After a week of prompting, my son had a language explosion. In retrospect, the opinion of the doctor (despite my own gut feeling that things were okay) put me into panic mode and I didn’t really enjoy the process of language acquisition [because I was desperate for him to have the ‘proper’ words]. Sometimes I just need to be reminded that it’s all about the journey, not the destination…
Yes. THIS! I’ve written about this countless times. Learning is natural. Provide the environment and they WILL learn.
It’s such a simple concept but so hard for people, including myself, to ”get.” I’m actually going to write a post on this- how I’ve made something so simple so complicated.