My son was almost 2 years old when we enrolled him in a playschool or pre-nursery. By the time of admission, he knew the verbal part and identification of objects but scribbling was nowhere in the picture. Some of his friends had the perfect grip by 2.5 years, some of them even knew the boundaries and coloured well but my son just refused to hold a crayon. After much insistence, even if he did, he scribbled the whole page black – left, right-centre, everything was coloured making the sheet lose its ‘astitva’ only. In every PTM his ma’am would have just 2 things to say – ‘Yuven is a disciplined kid but stage shy. And secondly, he doesn’t write.’ Either he was too lazy to write and would end up making tiny circles in a corner of the sheet which had to be spot using a magnifying glass. Or he was too impatient to maintain the sanctity of the borders.
I still remember his first vacation homework when he was required to colour 10 sheets and after a week of trying and wasting some 5 copies of his homework, I believed that finishing homework at this pace was an unending, daunting task. Most of the parents advised me that he will grow up to learn. Giving him time and space was the only advice all the parents give these days for all the problems in hand. Not walking yet? Give time. Not speaking yet? Give time, he will learn naturally. Throwing tantrums? Give him time and he would learn naturally. I waited for a month, thinking a fairy would come down with her magic wand and put things into place. I believed all those experienced souls and thought that I can sit back and relax.
I waited for a month and saw absolutely no improvement in him. He continued to scribble. I knew it’s not going to work. So I pulled up my socks and started trying different methods. I introduced him to finger painting, watercolors, different brushes, leaf twigs, earbuds and what not. Finally, he found his solace in watercolors and I found mine. The vacation homework was finished but crayons were still out of the scene. I got quite many coloring books for him when we went to his nana’s place and everybody was like, “Keep them aside. He will anyways waste all the pages by painting them all over monochromatically. Give them when he learns to color.”
But I believed that introducing crayons to him, guiding him time and again would help him. We tried, spilled colours, painted the sheets black or just coloured a few strokes, but we did colour something every day. From as little as 10 seconds to as much as he enjoyed doing. He turned repulsive and I cajoled him, he shouted and listened. We did everything and finally after a year, from his patience level of just 10 seconds to 30minutes, we came a long way. Today my son won a colouring competition and even bagged a trophy for the 1st prize. It’s his first victory of many more to come. But this victory is special to me for all the good reasons, a day I will cherish for a lifetime.
And this day reinstates the fact that we need to try and try till we achieve. Parents have a major role in natural learning of kids. Natural learning emphasised on understanding the importance of each child’s unique and individual journey. Best learning happens when children follow their interests and accordingly use their skills.
So my advice to all the parents is that don’t force your kids. Don’t push them. Don’t beat them with a blackmailing stick.. But just don’t keep waiting for the right age and the divine time. The time is now and it is always a good idea to introduce your kids to various activities. Keep introducing new techniques to them.. Keep buying new games for them. Don’t restrict yourself to the age-specific activities. My 4-year-old son enjoys the shapes puzzles meant for 1 year old and also enjoys the jigsaw puzzles for 6-year-old. It is all about developing your kid’s interests. Until you take him to the park, he will never realize the beauty of flowers and trees. Till you take him to the terrace in the night, he will never enjoy gazing at the twinkling stars and constellations.
Parents today are facilitators and our job is to stimulate the natural learning capacities of our children. The rest is up to our kids to discover and develop their skills. They will definitely learn and they will definitely develop their interests. Things don’t happen on their own, we have to make them happen.
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