J1 shared with me last week that a school mate of his requested for a birthday present from him from Toys R Rus. I was taken aback as I thought that gifts were supposed to be given, not requested from. Somemore, Toys R Rus?? From a fellow school mate who hasn’t earned his keeps?
I told him that if he wanted to buy his friend a gift, it would have to come from his savings to be considered as something given by him. He frowned upon the idea.
Again, yesterday J1 brought up the issue to me that he really wanted to give that friend a gift. Sure, he could. However, I reiterated that he would have to dip into his savings to get a gift.
After a moment of thought, he exclaimed excitedly that he could make a birthday card for his friend and pass it to her the following day. He also said that he did not want to spend money in getting a gift as he hadn’t much savings. I thought it was a great idea and encouraged him to make the card the following morning before school started.
Today, we came across some colouring sheets online and he chose one sheet to colour for his friend so he could personalise it and give it to her. I chipped in by giving him an envelope to enclose the card in. He was thrilled!!
Here’s the outcome, and I thought he did really well. There was also some really good decisions a five-year-old like him made, in choosing this as an appropriate gift to his friend.
Rather than insist on him not getting a birthday gift for his friend, I thought that leaving him to make that crucial decision would make him more convinced of his choice. There will be sacrifices to make (having less savings) if he were to buy a gift, but I was keen on letting him make that decision.
He chose to make a card, and in the end, he felt it was an excellent choice. I’m glad to have walked this journey with him and supported him through his choices.
So J2 playfully and intentionally poured a cup of warm water onto the floor, and started giggling.
Ok, my turn to respond. A barrage of possible reactions played in my mind.
Scold for the misdeed. Give a smack on the hand. Ask him to leave the scene and clean the mess up myself. Tell him what he did that was wrong and warn never to do that.
Eventually, I went to the kitchen and asked him to clean up the spot that was wet. In order for him to know what i meant by ‘clean up’, I took another cloth and wiped the water up with him. I insisted that every wet spot was wiped dry. Then came the lesson… explained to him why a wet floor could result in falls to anyone in the home, and that his act of mischief was not acceptable.
I’m not too sure how much the short lesson sank into his mind, but hopefully the physical act of him cleaning up the floor would stay in his mind as a reminder of why spilling water on the floor intentionally was a no-no.
Home is where we set the moral compass of any child, that I believe. More so, when a child is still impressionable and teachable, the parent or caregiver has the upper hand in instilling right values to nurture a disciplined child. As such, perhaps any child is never too young to be gently corrected and brought to realisation of their inappropriate actions.
As parents, let’s press on and keep at it even when the going gets tough. Don’t forget too, that our children do look towards us as we set an example for them to follow. They are great imitators and when what we preach goes hand in hand with the walk we talk, Home can be the place to set the foundational values of our children.
The first child is usually the one who gets their firsts in everything they could possibly experience. First kiddy ride, first sticker book, first swim class, first coin bank, first hand clothes. How about the younger sibling? They often hear ‘wait till you are older, you will have your chance’ Their lives amount to lots of waiting out… waiting till they get older, more mature, more able to handle situations, before these experiences are bestowed to them.
I had seen this coming when J2 was born and it’s been treading on thin line whenever I try to give each child equal chances at experiences, and trying to create authentic ones that etch deeply in their memory, something uniquely theirs. However, due to the fact that J2 is the younger sibling, he is usually the one who has to tag along, to look on, to observe the fun and perhaps sometimes, to have a seemingly less enriched time as compared to his elder Brother.
I have been actively trying to create special activity time with him so he knows that he is just as treasured as well. It may be the routine visit to the library, just he and me, where we get to read the kind of books he likes, or to spend a morning at the playground, suitable for his age, so he can mingle with children his age.
He enjoys this time alone and I recognise the importance of staying home so that I can have that one to one quality time with him, giving up some time from chores or even dinner, to have that undivided attention spent… and it has been worth the while.
J1 has plenty of activity books that reinforces penmanship, widens vocabulary, practices counting and so on… However, I came to the point where the current books are limited in the kind of stage appropriate learning he needs and I keep returning back to the bookstore in search for other books that can give more of those particular kinds of drills and practices. This means making frequent trips to Popular and spending quite a sum of money for books to be half completed (because the other half is not suitable for him to tackle yet), and then going out in search for other books to supplement his learning. Time and money are both not on my side and today, I thought I had it.
Decided to supplement his learning (and add some variation) with mummy-created resources. What other method but to revert to version 1.0, using handwritten questions on an exercise book.
Thankfully J1 took to it well and did the questions beautifully. The excitement got into me and I went on to craft out tomorrow’s learning whilst he was at school.
I’m also hoping that with a greater personal stake in his learning (instead of relying on outsourcing from assessment books and classes), it will be more than just a touch-and-go. Breadth in learning doesn’t beat depth in learning, and hopefully this brings us closer to a greater joy in acquiring knowledge.
J2 has been growing in leaps and bounds… literally. His vocabulary has suddenly expanded and his repertoire of songs have also increased exponentially. Woah. Sometimes he even surprises me with new songs and interesting lyrics.
Today, I took out J1’s ABC book and started running through the letters with him. He took such a personal interest in letters and started tracing them with his fingers. Correct strokes of writing doesn’t matter to me as much as instilling the keenness to pick up the alphabet.
He took to the colourful pictures drawn on every page to help remember an example of an object that started with a particular letter. That made his experience enriched!
There will be many more of such teachable moments to come, and as much as he enjoyed the process today, I too was savouring this precious time spent.
Growing up years are simply so short; if time is whiled away without intentional instruction, I will live to regret it one day.
Managed some time to do cutting, pasting, drawing and colouring with the boys today. And as usual, I had to draw buses, cars and taxis. J2 challenged me by asking me to draw trains, diggers and then dump trucks. He knew he was asking the impossible of me and gave a loud chuckle as he saw my surprised face and expression of loss…
That obviously left me dumbfounded and it was indeed a level up for me. I managed a train and was stumped at drawing dump trucks and diggers when J1 came happily to my rescue. 😆