If I polled a group of Christian parents, I believe a large number would admit to struggling with fear. Did I say the right thing, do enough, or handle the situations correctly?
I wonder if this fear is what leads so many parents to question the “what” and “when” of teaching their children. After seeing the frequently asked questions in the ABCJesusLovesMe Facebook Groups, Becky offered to share her experience and what she discovered her fear was rooted in.
Whether you use the ABCJLM Curriculum or not, Becky’s wisdom will speak to many aspect of parenting and how fear drives our decisions.
What Holds Us Back?
Becky: For the past four year, the ABCJesusLovesMe Community has been a large blessing for me. I’ve used all of the ABCJLM Curricula multiple times with my four children (ages 2-7) and have fallen in love with both the content and how simple it is for me to use this life-changing and life-giving curricula.
When we choose to use the ABCJLM Preschool Curriculum as our guide for our child’s academic learning, there is always the question of which curriculum to use.
- Use the curriculum written for the child’s age. For example, the 2 Year Curriculum for a child 24-36 months old.
- Backup to an easier curriculum, just in case the appropriate one is too hard.
- Skip the age-appropriate curriculum so the child isn’t bored and can excel in learning.
As I wrestled with these thoughts for my children, I realized the opposing options of using an easier curriculum and skipping head were based on three fears:
- The fear of boredom.
- The fear from comparison.
- The fear of failure.
See the info below if your child has developmental delays.*
Fear of Boredom
Society has told parents that children need to be entertained and boredom should be avoided at all costs. This fear of boredom has led parents to shy away from repetition.
First, children learn through repetition. This is why children want the same book read 5 times a day and want to sing the same song 13 times.
Second, academic learning is spiral, not linear. This means that children are exposed to the same content multiple times from birth through high school. Each time the content contains more depth. Review and repetition are required to build a solid framework for the coming learning.
Third, when a child is having fun, familiarity breeds confidence and develops comfort in the learning process.
Fear from Comparison
While there are average developmental milestones, children learn and develop at different paces…even within the same family! How the enemy tries to steal our parenting joy by tempting us to get on the comparison train.
It’s easy to tie our self-worth to our children’s achievements. It’s tempting to push our kids academically, because deep down we believe we will feel successful if our children are advanced. Or, fear that our child won’t “get it” right away stops us from challenging them at all. Fear from comparison can lead to either perfectionism or passivity.
Our worth as a person and our success as parents are not based on our child’s performance in school. The pace at which a child learns academics, Bible, and developmental objectives is ultimately up to the child and their God-given abilities.
Setting aside the fear from comparison can help both you and your child learn together with confidence and grace.
After reading the post, Becky shared the following wisdom on the ABCJesusLovesMe Facebook Group.
I choose the curriculum that is developmentally appropriate to the area the child needs the most work on. I can always find a way to extend the learning in the areas the child excels in. But if we skip those skills the child needs extra help with, the gap just gets bigger.
Fear of Failure
While we all want our children to shine in the academic world, young children are not expected to master all objectives prior to kindergarten. The best teacher in the world can’t force a preschooler to learn all letters and numbers if the child’s development isn’t ready to master the standard.
The pressure for children to perfectly master a skill before moving on can build a lot of frustration for both the adult and the child. Set aside any fear of failure and focus on helping your child develop a love for learning. One day the learning will “click” and you’ll be amazed at what your young child can do!
Because of the fear of failure, sometimes we as parents can unintentionally be the limiting factors of our child’s learning because we aren’t ready to expose them to new things.
Here’s an example from my home. My youngest son’s vocabulary isn’t as developed as his older siblings were at the age of two. So I wasn’t sure what he’d pick up during learning time…he still seems like such a baby to me! Within the first week’s activities of the 2 Year Curriculum, he can say/draw circles, loves the book of the week, and is saying the days of creation! If I had “held him back” and reused the 1 Year Curriculum because he hadn’t mastered the objectives covered, he would have missed growth and development opportunities the age-appropriate curriculum offers him.
Which ABCJesusLovesMe Curriculum Should I Choose?
Want your child to develop a love for learning? Using the recommended ABCJesusLovesMe Curriculum provides ample amount of play-based learning experiences*.
Want to be intentional with the precious preschool years? Let the activities provided in the age-appropriate ABCJesusLovesMe Curriculum guide your day.
Want to grow a well-rounded child with a solid foundation of learning and the Bible? Glean age-appropriate ideas through the research-based instruction provided in the ABCJesusLovesMe Curriculum.
Don’t allow fear to keep you from making the choice that is best for your child.
Thank you so much to Becky for sharing these much needed reminders! From II Timothy 1:7, “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.”
*This post speaks specifically for the children who are meeting their developmental goals. But some children (like Heidi’s) have significant educational and developmental needs. Thus, choosing a curriculum at a different level than their age is more appropriate. Chat with Heidi to discern what would be best for your child.