Earlier Is Better for Kids? No! Childhood Is Not a Dress Rehearsal for Adulthood by Rae Pica

Parenting
6 months ago
Earlier Is Better for Kids? No! Childhood Is Not a Dress Rehearsal for Adulthood

Whether we're talking about academics or athletics, the idea that earlier is better has infiltrated American society and education. As a result, children are expected to read as babies and to play like Beckham years before their eye-foot coordination allows them to successfully connect foot to ball. 

The myth that earlier is better has resulted in parents being terrified that if they don't give their little ones a jumpstart on the "competition," their children will fall behind and end up as failures. And what happens to the kids? They're too often stressed and unhappy. Depression is at an all-time high – because demanding that children perform skills for which they're not yet ready creates fear and frustration in them. 

Regardless of current trends, child development cannot be accelerated. Moreover, there's no reason to try to accelerate it. The research shows that children who begin something, like reading or sports, when they're developmentally ready catch up to and even surpass those who started early.

Childhood is not a dress rehearsal for adulthood. It's a separate, unique and very special phase of life. We need to make sure we don't wipe it out of existence!

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Elisa All Schmitz 30Seconds
Excellent tips here, Rae Pica . There's so much pressure on parents and kids today to excel at earlier and earlier ages. Thank you for saying that childhood is not a dress rehearsal for adulthood. I love that!
Mellica Telemacque
Yes to this all day! The pressure on kids is tremendous! In the county in which I teach, kindergartners don't get nap time anymore and they have to be ready to read and complete book logs! Lets not even talk about the competitive parents on the sidelines during pee wee games. I'm glad that others are noticing this disturbing trend.
Rae Pica
Mellica, what you describe is exactly what's happening all throughout the States. Just the fact that young children are no longer allowed nap time indicates that decision makers don't have a clue about children's needs. And the idea of reading in kindergarten alternately makes me want to weep and scream. Children will read when they're ready! And those forced to read before their brains are ready will learn to hate it. Is that really what we want?

Additionally, the research is very clear on this (if only someone would pay attention to it): by 3rd grade, there's absolutely NO DIFFERENCE between those who read early and those who read later! One of my favorite stories is of Dr. Carla Hannaford, neurophysiologist and author, who didn't read until she was 10...and she did pretty well for herself!
Kristan Wager
So much this. Kids just need to be kids. My favorite kindergarten teacher told me "don't send your daughter. It is mini first grade now. " :( Thanks for sharing Rae Pica
Rae Pica
You're so welcome, Kristan! And your favorite kindergarten teacher was absolutely right. A recent study from the University of VA determined that kindergarten is indeed the "new first grade." The question is: why?? Children haven't changed! Only the priorities of the adult decision-makers around them have changed. Sigh.
Mike Prochaska
Yew yes yes couldn’t agree more
Ann Marie Gardinier Halstead
"Childhood is not a dress rehearsal for adulthood. It's a separate, unique and very special phase of life." I love this, Rae Pica ! And that photo, Donna John ! :)
Rae Pica
Thanks, Ann Marie! I always appreciate the support. And, yes, that photo is perfect!!
Donna John
I know!! That quote is great and the picture just makes you smile.
Rae Pica
Should also make us wince! :)
Donna John
Couldn't agree more with this, Rae Pica . Though, I did find myself recently pushing my daughter to put my grandson (he's 5) into baseball. Why? Because I wanted him to play so I could go watch him. Yep, all about me. :) Is he ready? I have no idea. Will take a step back and leave that decision to him mom and dad.
Rae Pica
Oh, boy. Trust me, I could give you a dissertation on why a 5-year-old isn't ready for baseball! Eye-hand coordination and visual tracking not even close to being fully developed. Etc., etc. Most experts agree that children shouldn't be enrolled in organized sports until age 8. How 'bout instead of taking a step back you tell your daughter that you recently learned some stuff that has caused you to reconsider -- and that maybe she should too? :)
Michael Kennedy
Amen. Couldn't agree with this more and on so many levels.
Rae Pica
Appreciate the support, Michael!

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