Over the Thanksgiving break, a fellow mom and I were talking about the politics of mommy hood. She had a birthday party for her seven year old, and only invited a few of the girls from school. My friend pulled this off swimmingly like a true professional. However, when another mom heard she wasn’t inviting her daughter, she snubbed her by saying that she would no longer to business with her via text message.
The thought of mirrors and mirroring comes to mind when I heard this story. As parents, we have the responsibility of showing our children how they should act. If we are behaving and treating each other like we should, then this should and never is a challenge. However, when we let the stress stay within then that is what becomes mirrored and in turn, what our children mimic as normal.
The question then remains, what we can do to change our mirrors?
I had the pleasure of presenting at The Texas Girls Conference put on by GENAustin two weekends ago on finding your personal crown. While working with the girls and talking with their parents, the most common question I was asked was why this behavior? So many times, we as parents get fixated on that one behavior that seems out of place or that is affecting our children’s lives academically. What we have to remember is this behavior may seem out of the ordinary for you, but it is their normal. Your child may simply be at an impasse of finding the words to mirror their emotions. The next time you find yourself looking at that behavior, try asking questions that help your child communicate with words and not actions in getting what they want.
As this is the first blog of many, I often wonder about the use of crowns in pretend play. When you were a little, you often played as if you were a princess or prince and the world was your oyster. With a tap of wand or nod of a crown, your wish was your command. By picking up an old briefcase or doctor’s stethoscope, you were exposed to a glimpse of a possible future. What you were exposed to was sometimes different that what your friends’ were. As the saying goes, variety is the spice of life, and through an educational lens, we call that experience.
Not only is it critical to provide different experiences to children, but during early childhood, this is the time when the foundation of social skills begins.
Dr. Patricia Kuhl is the leading researcher on children’s brain and, as the co-director of Institute of Learning and Brain Sciences at The University of Washington, she talks about the importance of experience. She argues that opportunities of all kind must be readily available for children to maximize the unique learning abilities that their brains permit. In other words, exposure is the key to increasing your child’s cognitive development.
It does fall back on our shoulders not just as parents, but members of society, to determine what kind of experiences we want to have readily available. Although it’s often easier to give them some pretend clothes and let them play in the background while we get on with life, remember that it’s not just what they are doing that is important but how they are actively engaged in the experience that will reap the benefits of their cognitive development.