Throw the week-by-week checklists out the window!

I felt like the worst mother on the planet when I was scrolling through Facebook, while nursing my youngest, and came across a post with milestones for toddlers and preschoolers. I clicked on it and saw that, according to their checklist, Sweet Pea should already be using scissors. What!? Hand over a pair of scissors to a 2 year old!? Haven’t they seen the pictures of little ones cutting their own hair and whatnot? It was then that I realized just exactly how hard it is keeping up with two little ones.

It was SO much easier to keep track of weekly milestones (weekly!? Are you kidding me!? How did I ever have time for that??) when it was just Sweet Pea. I remember gleefully getting those emails and seeing what we should be doing during the upcoming week. I recalled how it would be nice to know a week or so ahead of time, so when I was signing up for emails shortly before Buddy Boy was born, I put his due date two weeks earlier. Yes, I was that delusional (optimistic?), thinking I’d actually diligently read all those emails and make sure we were doing the activities and whatnot each week. Obviously, that very quickly went out the window and I eventually unsubscribed to all those emails, as I didn’t need them clogging up my inbox. Plus, I had something more important to guide me- my experience and my instinct.

Fast forward to today, and I’m 16 months into having two little ones and Sweet Pea is almost 3. We’ve gone to all of Buddy Boy’s check-ups and he continues to meet all of his milestones, just as his sister did, even with me being less diligent about seeing what he needs to do. And, I’ve already looked at Sweet Pea’s 3 year checklist from her doctor, and she’ll “pass” with flying colors. The reality is though, that each child learns differently and at his or her own pace. The checklists are just guidelines to help make sure we’re heading in the right direction (and to get help if we’re not).

Let’s be realistic 🙂

Even though that checklist 6 or so months ago said Sweet Pea should already be using scissors, I neglected to get started on it. Why? I couldn’t decide what scissors to use and I just wasn’t ready. Buddy Boy was starting to walk, Sweet Pea was going through a potty training regression, and it was not in the cards at that time. A few months ago, when things had calmed down a bit, I gave her during Buddy Boy’s nap time, some scratch paper, and started in on helping her learn how to use scissors. We practiced intermittently here and there over the last few months, and slowly she became more interested in practicing her “cutting,” so when she asks (always during Buddy Boy’s nap time), I grab some junk mail, a pair of scissors, remind her to keep her thumb up, and let her practice while I do my work at the computer. She’s mastered cutting, mostly by practicing on her own.

“Missing” one skill here and there does not make us failures as parents. It simply means we’re human. Plus, odds are, if our child was ready to learn that skill, we would already be doing it because they were showing interest. We have to remember that, as parents, we are dong the best job that we can, and we are the perfect parents for our children. And, at the end of the day, that is enough. Guidelines are simply guidelines. WE are the best judge of what our child needs to be doing at a given time. There’s no sense in rushing something if our children aren’t ready. It will only take longer, lead to more frustration, and possibly make our littles not want to do whatever it is that we’re trying to get them to do. So, let’s let our kids be the leaders and learn and master new skills in their own time frame and in their own way. Let’s not get stuck on checklists and what experts say our kids need to be doing each week or each month.

Looking for tips to help your little one with learning how to use scissors? Check out my 8 tips!

 

Connie Deal

Connie Deal

Executive Director at Lessons and Learning for Littles
Connie is the mom of two toddlers and 3 dogs. When they're not doing activities, Connie and her kids are gardening, taking pictures, going for walks, or enjoying time outside. Connie left the classroom when she became a mom, but she's a teacher at heart and loves helping others.
Connie Deal

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