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Why are children as young as 3 undre so much pressure ??

(37 Posts)
mummyloveslucy Wed 01-Oct-08 10:28:38

My daughter is 3.5 and has been going to nursery part time since she was 2. She really enjoys it and she is a very happy, friendly and thoughtfull little girl. That should be enough at this age surely?
I constantly hear parents talking about how their child can read small words, wright their name, know all the letter sounds etc.
It just makes me feel a bit sad and a bit concerned for my daughter. She dosn't recognise letters, appart from L and she can't read, wright etc. She can't follow dot to dots of her name or trace a letter with her finger.
Is this really important though?. We play with her all the time, she has a very loving, supportive family and she is the most loving little girl you could meet. She has lovely manners and genuinly cares for people. To me this is so much more important than accademic things at this age. Am I wrong though, and will she be behind her friends at school?
I can't remember there ever being this amount of pressure for young children to accieve in the past. It was all about play and having fun back then, and I had a wonderful childhood. I'd like my daughter to have the same.
My Mum says that when she had me, if you were told at the developmental check up that your child was within normal limits, you were pleased. It seems that this is no longer good enough and people want their children to be above the norm.
Is it right though to push children as young as this, and what about the children like my daughter who struggle to learn accademically ?
I couldn't be prouder of my daughter, and I just want to give her a happy, care free childhood.
I think with all the pressure surrounding children and their parents, this is not going to be as easy as I thought. sad

compo Wed 01-Oct-08 10:30:18

I wouldn't worry at all, you sound like you ahve the best attitude

(you do know you typed 'wright' don't you!! wink)

mummyloveslucy Wed 01-Oct-08 10:33:35

Compo- I'm supprised that was my only mistake, or are you being kind? grin

DaddyJ Wed 01-Oct-08 10:36:37

Hold on, does your dd feel the pressure - or do you?

Did the other kids learn these various skills by themselves
or as a result of 'pressure' from their parents?

Certain parents will have a strong focus on achievement,
other parents are more concerned with 'happy, carefree'.

The kids of the former will become merchant bankers,
the kids of the latter the bankers' therapists grin

mummyloveslucy Wed 01-Oct-08 10:40:34

That's true DaddyJ. grin
It's just me, who feels the pressure. My daughter is very laid back and happy.
My worry is for her when she starts school, and then has all that pressure on her to pass endless tests etc.

cory Wed 01-Oct-08 10:40:42

You're absolutely right; it's competitive parenting at its worst.

I knew a few competitive parents round about this stage of dd's life: their children were all geniuses and everything they did was "advanced". I have to say, they haven't amazed the world yet wink.

Don't worry, your dd will have a happy childhood as long as you don't pay any attention to these silly ideas. And I am quite sure that it is possible to have just as happy a childhood as we did. Kids don't read the papers and won't know about the pressures unless you tell them.

katiek123 Wed 01-Oct-08 10:46:57

mummyloveslucy - hang on in there with that great loving and sensible attitude of yours, and ignore the pressure as best as you can! there is no need to assume at this early stage that your daughter 'struggles to learn academically' by any means. loads of research shows that there is no need whatsoever to teach kids their letters before the age of 6 and that they take off really quickly at this age even with minimal prior exposure to reading and writing bcs they are...ready!

our society for some reason has gone down the road of tickbox learning even for pre-schoolers on no evidence whatsoever that this is good for the child, or for society as a whole. whole rafts of psychologists agree with YOU, not with the current trend in our country! my DD was always very letter- and alphabet-inclined by nature, but god knows i'd have swapped some of that for your daughter's mellow and loving traits, as my little girl is of the spirited variety!

you are right to celebrate the lovely things about your little girl and just try not to get sucked into worrying about the rest - she will get there in her own time and be no less competent at reading and writing than her peers, i'm quite sure.
stay strong!!!you're giving her a great childhood by the sound of it.

i think some of this stuff depends on where you live, by the way - we are in deepest countryside and people are pretty laid-back, but my bro is one of the afore-mentioned banker types in london and his kids are immersed in a world of competitive after-school this and extra mandarin that - all total madness in my (bumpkin) view!!

mummyloveslucy Wed 01-Oct-08 10:48:13

I suppose I worry about being too laid back. My daughter couldn't talk hardly at all when she was 2 and everyone said, it'll come in time don't worry etc. They all had stories to tell about children they know who were like this and are now Doctors Lawyers etc.
It was only when she turned 3 and I realised how much the other hildren in her class were talking, I took her to a speech therapist and she has a serious speech disorder.
I feel really bad for not insisting she was seen sooner. I spoke to the HV about it when she was two, but she said "Oh she'll be fine".
I don't want to make the same mistake again.

mummyloveslucy Wed 01-Oct-08 10:57:13

Thanks everyone for your lovely comments. smile I do take a huge pride in bringing up my daughter to be a lovely caring indevidual, I feel that this is what the world needs right now. She might end up being a Doctor or a care assistant (like her mummy). She has the art of making people around her feel happy, she really couldn't be more special to me. wink

CoteDAzur Wed 01-Oct-08 11:00:25

DD knows numbers up to 20 and now has taken an interest in letters - keeps asking me to write her name, daddy, mummy, etc and points out letters a, b, and a few others.

This is not through any pressure on our part. She wants to learn these things.

I don't go around telling other mums about each new letter she learns, though.

mummyloveslucy Wed 01-Oct-08 11:05:56

Well that's good that she's showing the interest without any pressure. If my daughter wanted to learn these things, then I'd support her in doing it and make it as fun as possible for her.
Well done for not boasting about it, it only makes other parents feel pressurised.

mummyloveslucy Wed 01-Oct-08 11:16:31

It seems to be the same parents that say when they pick their children up from nursery, we're off to tennis club, swimming, ballet, music etc.
When they ask me what I'm doing, I'm never quite sure what to say. I dred to think of their reaction if I told the truth.
"We're going home, L will watch cbeebies or play with her toys whalst I cook our dinner, we'll then read some stories before she goes to bed".

spamm Wed 01-Oct-08 11:26:25

MLL - I do know how you feel and I am doing my best to not feel too guilty that I do not do writing with my ds (3.5) every weekend or in the evenings. The most we do is play with his bath letters, as he is excited that he can recognise the letter D from his name.

In fact the interesting thing is that he is the one who seems to be pushing to do more, so I will let myself be guided by him.

But I was actually quite shocked when I took him to Nursery - first week - and his key worker gave me a sheet of exercises for him to do to start his letters. I think the staff recognised my surprise, as they said that some parents get upset that they are not doing this kind of learning every day. But I want to go and kick up the autumn leaves and do painting and make biscuits. Surely homework will come soon enough?

noonki Wed 01-Oct-08 11:50:11

I think it is horrible the way that children are getting 'homework' at a young age, (my DSS did aged four shock

as well as the sats test which he was really stressed out by

His first school wouldn't let him learn an instrument as he couldn't read instead he had to do extra reading classes (aged 6)

When he was 8 he still couldn't read, his mum moved area and he moved to a different school who firstly said to him ' don't worry you will learn one day' and second of all played loads of letter games with him before workin gout he was dyslexic, he learnt to read in 3 months and now has a reading age of a teenager (aged 12

saying that though my 3 year old loves learning to read, he is interested in letters and numbers and so we sing songs and play games with him, I don't go around saying how clever he is to any, as I don't equate it with cleverness just interest; along with his other favourites; big puddles, trains, painting, zebras and Bob the Builder!

katiek123 Wed 01-Oct-08 11:55:29

MML your daughter has a lovely mummy and a lovely after-school time by the sound of it. i cannot believe it is really necessary to constantly ferry one's child from activity a to b to c in the interests of their future career! we didn't do all this stuff when we were kids, or most of us didn't, and you describe your childhood as lovely, which i am sure it was. i would have given a lot (and still would!) to be able to say of my (firecracker) daughter 'she has the art of making people around her happy' i can tell you!!! plus i wholeheartedly agree with your comment that the world needs more of that - could anything be truer?!

spamm - 'some people get upset they are not doing this kind of learning every day' - argh, the world is truly going mad. i have heard of affluent parents taking their kids to kidclubs on holiday and being upset that there wasn't going to be a 'curriculum' to 'account' for the time they spent there while they were playing tennis or whatever! unbelievable!

MML where i live we all mostly go home most days to hang out, watch a bit of low-key telly and then have tea. that's FINE! do not feel inadequate please! i am not anti-activities of course, my two do karate and my son does football, but mostly we just...hang out. we like it like that!

mummyloveslucy Wed 01-Oct-08 14:27:09

Thanks KatieK123, I somtimes think the worlds gone mad. grin I think the way I bring up Lucy is normal really, but in this day and age it appears "normal" isn't good enough.
I agree about the homework, how silly at this age. We too like to kick up autunm leaves and explore our world first hand. I'm a big kid at heart, which helps. grin

Miyazaki Wed 01-Oct-08 14:31:38

I try to remember that I (we!)are in charge, not the nursery, or school...

I try in the face of competitive parenting to just smile and nod. There are years yet of it. Smile and nod and back away slightly, as though dealing with a slightly bonkers but not all bad elderly relative.

HonoriaGlossop Wed 01-Oct-08 15:29:31

daddyj I loved your post

And the banker's therapists will sit there saying the right things but silently burning with anger "you have a million in the bank, a huge house, CHEER UP"

<<disclaimer: this is not me, I am not the child of 'happy, carefree' environment and have never worked in social care>>


StarlightMcKenzie Wed 01-Oct-08 15:34:22

Message withdrawn

mummyloveslucy Wed 01-Oct-08 15:54:04

Oh, well that's good to know. smile

On her last parents evening, her teacher remarked on her personality saying how caring and thoughtfull she is of the other children and her environment. She said that L is always the first to settle down and listen and the first to offer help.
She said that everything else can be taught in time but she is naturally a very likable little girl.
I was really pleased.

cory Wed 01-Oct-08 15:56:16

If a child in infants is stressed out by the SATS, then the school simply aren't handling it right and you should tell them! The Yr 2 SATS are about assessing the school- there is no need to prepare the children in any way. Our school didn't even tell the children they were sitting an exam- half of them never knew!

As for the Year 6 SATS I made a great point of telling my dd that these have no relevance to her future: no employer is ever going to want to look at them and they will not be relevant to whether she goes to university or not.

Unless you as a parent actively encourage it, there is no need for a child to have their childhood dominated by tests and exams.

mummyloveslucy Wed 01-Oct-08 16:13:26

My husbands nephewwas a bit worried about his sats, he had problems sleeping and all sorts. His Mum and Dad told him it was nothing to worry about and he said

"I don't want to let down my teacher or my school".

I thought this was sweet in a way, but very sad in another.

TheArmadillo Wed 01-Oct-08 16:17:03

My parents pushed me and now at 25 I have been written off by them as a failure. Apparently even my childhood games weren't of a high enough standard hmm

I was at afterschool activities nearly every night adn on weekends. I was never allowed just to be. Even when I had glandular fever. I hated it. I just wanted to have time to chill out at home.

Ds is 3yo and academically very bright (as I was and dp was). I'm not pushing him. If he wants to learn something then I will read books with him on it and we'll do activities, but he can't read (as I could by his age) and I've recently taken him out of preschool as he didn't enjoy it regardless of the mental stimulation. No matter how many times I am told by family he needs it to keep him mentally occupied (I'm doing that at home fine thanks) Or that he needs to prepare for school (I'm sure reception can do that for him) or that he should be going to a million activity groups to 'develop his skills'.

His preschool maybe lovely but it caters for parents with similar ideas to mine. Those kids are mostly shipped between every activity going. I don't want that for mine. They have 2 days a week to teach the older ones how to read and write and 'prepare for school'. I don't want that for my child.

He's 3 yo for fucks sake and a very happy child. I don't care about anything else atm.

I hate the idea that he will face a barage of tests at school and I'm not forcing him into a million afterschool activities if he doesn't want them.

Last year went I sent him to preschool thinking it was for the best, all he wanted to do was have a day at home with me. So this year that is what we are doing.

I don't care what he does as an adult as long as he is happy. I don't care about 'all that wasted potential' (as has been said to me several times) as he has a whole life ahead of him to use it. I want him to be happy, I never have been and it is more important than any academic success.

CoolYourJets Wed 01-Oct-08 16:20:46

They are loons.

My Dh was considered not too bright until 7 years old. He then blossomed, then under achieved for a bit. He still has a first class honours in mathematical physics from a very good uni.

His parents were not pushy at all btw.

mummyloveslucy Wed 01-Oct-08 16:25:54

I also don't think it's a bad thing for children to experience a bit of boredom in their lives, it encourages emaginative thinking. When I was bored as a child, I found myself making up stories and poems in my head. I don't think every second of the day hould be filled with acctivity.

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