Today as I was thinking about my little grandson entering Head Start at barely 3 years old and thinking how he is still acts like a baby in many ways it made me realize that he is just a baby. He has only been on this earth for 3 short years. Learning how to sit still is a huge job for someone his age. I thought about many other kids his age who may seem older in some ways and that caused me to rellize that is so sad and it might just be possible that one of the reasons kids struggle so much in the world today, why kids are having babies as young as 13 years old, why kids are experimenting with drugs as young as 6 years old, why so many kids are finding it hard to cope with life as teenagers and later young adults just might be because society expects them to grow up too fast. They really are never allowed to be kids, that is being taken away from so many kids and well, that is sad.
The learning bar has been raised for Kindergarten age kids to the point that Kindergarten is no longer the transition into becoming a school student, now children need to be prepared for Kindergarten by going to Head Start. In Head Start they also lose some of their childlike ways because they are expected to grow up way too fast.
By first grade kids are expected to know how to read. If they don't most of the time they are labeled with some sort of learning disability. They are placed in special classes or groups and even though those labels might not be place on their little forehads they are imbedded into their being to the point many young kids never have the confidence to succeed. They always feel "dumb". Maybe if they had been allowed to just be a kid a bit longer they would have succeeded later in their school career.
Don't get me wrong, I do not think there is anything wrong with kids learning things at a young age, but it is wrong to expect them to learn too much at a young age. It is wrong to rob them of those precious years when they are carefree, silly and young. A three year old should be worried about imagination play and learning the things he or she wants to learn. He or she should not be forced to act like a five year old at three. If he is immature at three, that is ok because well, he is just three. If he still wants his mommy at three, that is ok. He is just a three year old.
My little grandson knows his ABC's, can count, recognize numbers, knows his shapes and colors. He is also very cuddly and sometimes clingy. He acts like a three year old, sometimes he acts like a baby and well, that is fine since he is a baby, or maybe toddler is the better word.
He is headed to Pre-School in a few days because sadly like many parents in todays world, both of his parents have to work and grandma has to work to survive too. So, he has to enter the school age world. My hope is that he can still be a baby in many ways, it is ok for him to want to play, it is ok if he is clingy and acts like a baby sometimes...because well, that is what he is.
Society is so ready for kids to grow up and succeed at such a young age when emotionally they are just not ready. Let the kids in Kindergarten color and play with crayons. Let them play with dolls, play house and whatever fun dramatic play they enjoy. Yes they can mind and yes they can learn but society needs to stop taking away their childhood and expecting more of them than they are able to give.
Taking away their childhood sets many kids up for emotional hard times later on, they can't cope with the teen year struggles and many can't cope with adulthood either. So while they are kids, let them be kids.