As we get ready to welcome a new little one to our family, I’ll be sharing some favorite posts from the past.
My grandmother had a lot of sayings. “Use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without.” “Do not throw upon the floor the food you cannot eat, for many a starving children would think it quite a treat.”
And when my husband asked if I was OK dating him at 10 years my senior, Grandma’s words jumped right out: “Better to be an old man’s darling than a young man’s slave.” (Though my then-suitor didn’t exactly appreciate the “old man” reference at the tender age of 34.)
But apparently there was one I had forgotten about until my mom used it the other day:
“You can’t put a big head on little shoulders.”
It’s a quick reminder, in Grandma’s style, that you can’t expect a small child to think as an adult. You can’t expect a child to act as an adult. Children are, after all, children.
And yet we do it from time to time.
We expect them to wait patiently without giving them something to do. (And then get upset when they find something to do.) We say things like, “the baby’s sleeping” but leave out the real message, “it’s time to be quiet”, and assume they’ll fill in the blanks. And we expect them to ignore that wriggling worm on the sidewalk because we are in a hurry.
Too often we project our understanding, our perspectives, and our priorities onto the children we love and teach. Developmentally, children are supposed to be ego-centric. What’s our excuse as adults?
Monitor your expectations and the words you use with young children, and beware of trying to put big heads on little shoulders. Slow down now and then and see things from their view. (You were there once, remember?) Keep expectations appropriate to their abilities, and instructions clear for their understanding.
Be patient when kids act like…well, kids.
Such wise words!
Overjoyed to hear your family is expending. The world will be a better place 🙂
Sharon O says
I love this and shared a bit of it ‘using your blog name’…on my facebook (couldn’t find a facebook link to share it all). I think we should remember that children are not little adults they are little people with limited experiences it is UP TO THE adults to show and teach them. I am a grandma of six and a child advocate. Little people are precious and we MUST preserve their innocense.
Sharon O says
found it, now I shared the whole blog link on my facebook page. :o)
oops sorry, above I meant expanding not expending.
Congratulations on your coming little one, Amanda!
And this post I love. It’s so important to remember that kids act like kids – and it’s unrealistic to expect otherwise. I love that grandma quote.
Lovely post! ~ sharing!
Thankyou! I fall into this trap too often. Imust say though they are often more “grown up” than some adults I know (including, sadly me from time to time!)
Your Grandmother sounds like a gem!
Best wishes for the new bub.
I think I remember this post! It really hit home. I really have to work at not treating him like he is older. I often say that I have to remind myself that he is ONLY three and that is little brother is ALREADY one. I more fully understand why the last children (even though he is hopefully not my last) get so babied. Anyways, it’s a struggle. Thanks for the reminder.