Roosevelt and Toddlers

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Roosevelt and Toddlers

To educate a man in mind but not morals is to make a menace to society.

~Theodore Roosevelt

I have to remind myself sometimes that the most important thing for me to teach my toddler is not her ABC’s or colors or even potty -training. To evaluate how I’m doing in raising my daughter, I should really be asking myself if she is learning how to love, learning how much God loves her, learning how to express her thoughts and feelings, learning how to take care of others, learning how to be polite and responsible for her things, learning how to put others before herself, learning how to inneract with other people, to name a few. It’s so easy to get caught up in the whirlwind of turning every play activity into a lesson on math or letters or colors when the most important lessons in every play activity are really the ones about being a kind and generous and thoughtful human being. Is she learning about love from the way I treat her daddy? Is she learning about patience from the way I speak with her? Is she learning about cooperation and sharing when we build with blocks or when I make her my “helper” for taking care of meals or household chores? Is she learning how to be a good listener?

Reminding myself of this can sometimes take the load off because my natural tendencies don’t include teaching facts and numbers and colors and sounds. From my background in developmental psychology, I know there are a million ways to affect your child’s development, from eating the right foods to playing the right music to speaking with the right tone of voice to massaging and stretching their limbs in the right way…but remembering all the right steps at all the right ages is overwhelming and impossible. However, I know that everything I do and say is teaching my daughter something, and I just need to remember that those daily, subtle, “under-the-radar” teaching moments are the lessons that count the most.

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