Sunday, July 02, 2006

What Should a 4 Year Old Know?

I ask myself this often. I think my four year old is pretty smart and on to it but then I truly wonder if she is. Has anyone watched this program on ONE called Child of Our Time? (And as I'm looking for that link, I see there are things on there you can test your children with. I'll have to look at it further.) We quite enjoy the program but then afterward I am left wondering how my own children stack up to those on the show. I sometimes feel I am beating my head against a wall when it comes to Kamryn. She recognizes her name and knows it starts with a K. But no matter how many times I point to the letters in her name and ask what they are, she can't get them all. Why not? She can't remember? She can count to 20 but gets muttled around 14 and comes back at 18 lol. She's good at doing her wooden puzzles, building, taking care of her babies, dancing, singing and coloring. All of which are great. I have to admit, many days I don't feel I know what to do with her. I don't know how to entertain her or get involved with her. Unfortunately for her, I can't spend every minute of the day with her making sure she has my full attention. Many things need to get done. Not only that, I have made it clear from the beginning that I do not want her to rely on me for interaction. But as she gets older I can feel her independence. Independence that I appreciate because I can do more of what I want. But then I wonder if it's too much. Maybe I need to be there more. Need to get involved more. Watching this program tonight this 5 year old was pointing at places on the globe. I was like I can't see Kamryn doing that at 5. Hugh said to give her another year since she isn't there yet. LOL, I think there will have to be more to it. I do not want her to be left behind. I want her to get the very best out of life. I was raised in the department of book smarts. To look at me now, I don't think it has gotten me very far. I want Kamryn to be life smart. A combination of both books and life experiences. I never veered far from my rules and regulations growing up for fear of what would happen. I want Kamryn to enjoy life and not be afraid to try things like I am. But at the age of four is she on the right path??? Does she really know what she needs to know at four?

I have tunnel vision when it comes to learning. I have a hard time thinking outside of the box when it comes to different methods of teaching the girls things (it's the book smarts coming back again!). I learn many things from Hugh. If for some reason, they aren't getting it a certain way he knows how to change it so they do get it. I don't think like that. Try as I might, I just can't. I do not want to push learning or making sure they know just as much as others their age as I know they will get there eventually. But there is this drive in me that says we need to be doing more. Need to be pushing more. Less TV for them and less computer time for me. More books, more reading, more building, more one on one things, more of something for sure. But I can't do it. I struggle with how to be involved. Is just being here enough?

So tonight I put in this search 'what should a four year old know'. And this is the first link I clicked on. And this cuts to the root of everything I feel for my children and what I think they shoud know. (Bar the messy play lol. The clean up drives me insane!) There's also a list of what parents should know. As I was reading this I felt relief over much of it as I do this with my girls. I have to say I worry more about Hugh in some of these instances though. Kamryn will ask him 3 times or more to look at her and he just ignores her or doesn't hear her. That bothers me. It maybe only takes 5 seconds to give her the recognition that she needs and deserves It's like the attention she seeks from him, she isn't getting. Often times he is throwing the words 'shut up' around which bothers me. Ok, I have used it but not nearly as much as he does. I think he needs to listen more to what she is saying, stop acting like every little thing she does annoys him, quick to jump at yelling or disciplining her and just listen to her. She does talk. No doubt about that. And if I didn't draw the line somewhere she would talk all day to me lol. But Hugh isn't around all day every day. Definitely listening is something that needs to be done more in this house. The older my girls get, the harder I am finding it to relate to my husband. The more I feel I am constantly advocating them to him. The more I worry about their resentment for him building. He's loud and quick with his tongue without thinking. Somethings need to change. I just hope that with all that goes on around here, Kamryn has learned what she should for a four year old.


Blogger Hannah said...

Christi, Kamryn is a great kid. She is smart and friendly and has a good imagination. These things I know from spending a few hours with her!! I guess it is hard for us to feel like we've done ALL we can for our kids' learning. I feel the same way sometimes. Like I don't spend enough time doing things with the boys that will help them to learn. But I know deep down that I do, and that they are learning all they need to know. And being at daycare has helped a lot with that, I'm sure it has helped Kamryn also.

I've met some 4-year-olds who are really behind, and trust me our kids are not in that category. When I watch that TV show I am constantly comparing Ethan to those children, even though they are more than 12 months older than him. I've been doing it ever since he was born and the show started!! LOL. It is a natural thing to do, and I doubt the aim is to make other parents feel like crap, instead I think it is supposed to educate parents a little bit, which is obviously what it is doing if we are sitting there thinking "can my child do that?" and then trying new things with them the next day.

You haven't got anything to worry about with Kamryn. She's a great kid and I don't think not being able to recognise all the letters in her name is going to be too much of an issue right now. Ethan has only just started to be able to do that, and mainly because they started doing intensive work on recognising letters at daycare. Now at Kindy he practices writing his name every day and that has helped him so much even in just 6 weeks. And don't worry, there are MANY kids who just do scribbles on the paper when they are writing their name. Yes, there are some who write their name perfectly, but seriously there is an entire spectrum of abilities there and all the kids are pretty much the same age (give or take 6 months).

Okay, I've written an essay here! Sorry, you probably didn't need to hear half of that but I wanted to let you know that as an "outsider", I see Kamryn is very smart and knows a lot. I'm sure Kindy, as "unstructured" as it is, will help. And believe me when I say we are not supposed to have our kids doing long division by the time they start school. There is so much time left for learning, and you'd be amazed at how much our 2 are going to learn over the next year - the growth and development is going to be exponential. It is hard to imagine, but they will just soak it all up like little sponges. Trust me! :-)

PS. going to check out that link sometime, just for fun!

7:48 AM  
Blogger Rachel said...

Hi Christi
I follow that series, too, and find myself comparing my boys (who doesn't?!) I do worry that Luke is behind in the language department - when he draws he scribbles, he's not as well-spoken/eloquent as some 4 year olds I know, to say he's interested in lights/torches/bulbs is an understatement (perhaps to the detriment of everything else that he *could* potentially be interested in).... but I do the best I can, and love him for who he is: generous, good humoured, playful and mischevious.
It does help that I have a husband who is good around the house: cooks, cleans (vacuums, cleans the toilet, mops....), and is involved with his kids in a positive way when he's around them at home. I'm amazed that he's still able to be this way with his kids, even though he's stressed out in his job most of the time, and is concerned for his mom's degenerating health and his own.
But even though men have their faults, like one of your friends who posted says: men can only do one thing at a time

3:50 PM  
Blogger Lisa said...

What a great link...and great things to keep in mind! I'm totally guilty of worrying about what Zachary knows and doesn't know..but in the end I try to remember that he's a kid and he should do kid things and have fun while he can.

I agree with you regarding Hugh...I don't know him, but those are some of my same issues with my in-laws and other family members...I just want to tell them..."I know they are small, but they are people and they do have feelings and they do know that you are ignoring them..."

(hugs) being a mom is tough isn't it?

2:08 PM  

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