A different point of view… that is where the magic happens!
Crying. Clinging. Not listening. Running. Sound familiar? See these behaviors from your children? Yup. It happens. After all, they are children! They aren’t angels, and often they don’t have the responses we expected. You think “Oh! They are going to LOVE this!” And what do they do? They grab their shoes and want to leave. Or they don’t smile. They hide their faces. It’s frustrating, isn’t it?!
But here is the thing. We need to let go of our expectations. Let them experience the world for themselves, without us telling them how to feel about something. We, as parents, need to step back and give children time to acclimate, time to interpret, time to take it all in. And we, as parents, need to try to look at their behavior through a different pair of eyes. Let’s take a few music class examples…
- In Foundations Kindermusik classes, for ages 0-1, we might see a baby crying during any tummy-time activity. But this doesn’t mean he is unhappy and wants to leave. It means he is doing hard work. Hard, much-needed strengthening work. And, with his parents present to support and encourage him, he won’t overdo it. And the tears will lead to important developmental gains! Sometimes a few tears are ok!
- In toddler classes you might see your child running. And you might think, “well, I guess she is not interested in music.” But turn that around. Look through a teacher’s eyes. We see exploring. Learning. Maybe she’s using a coping strategy, or enjoying the free feeling of exercise!
- What about the child who wants to get out the door before class is done, or the child who won’t stop playing an instrument when it’s time to put it away? You might think that a child is bored and done, or that they just aren’t a good listener. Right? That’s an illusion. Look behind the curtain! We see the variation in processing speeds. Every child processes at different rates. One child may have processed it and be done, where another child might need a little more time with something. This is the job of a toddler. To explore at their own rate, to find the boundaries, perhaps to push those boundaries to find the edge. As teachers we expect We actually embrace it! Toddlers need to be toddlers.
- What about the preschoolers? Think they have mastered everything? Nope! Not at all. But we as parents expect so much more from them! Think about when they interrupt. They are showing us that they want to share, they want to be recognized and heard. They haven’t mastered audition, which is thinking without speaking. So we need to give them opportunities to practice and learn. It’s hard! And what about when they appear to not be listening? It could be that we, as the adults or teachers, went too fast. They need time to process. Sometimes we need to take a deep breath and slow down.
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