Saturday, 7 October 2017

My Goals For Raising My Children

Now that Ezra is truly a toddler (as hard as that is to admit) I've started rereading my copy of 'ToddlerCalm' by Sarah Ockwell-Smith. As I read the first chapter I found a Post-It note with a list of qualities I hoped Eleanor would develop.


It's strange to look back on the note and remember my goals for my then-nearly-two-year-old daughter. I think she was probably starting to show some of these qualities already, but almost four years on, how are we doing?

Well, she's certainly confident. A born extrovert, happy to chat to everyone. I have noticed the occasional waver recently though - it was the school Harvest Festival this week and she had the task of being first to speak in her year's section. There was a painful silence as she plucked up the courage, but she got there eventually. I suppose she's at the age where she's becoming more self-conscious, so hopefully she'll be back to her confident self soon.

Integrity is a harder one. I want her to do the right thing, not because she's told to or to get something for herself, but because it's right. This is a tricky concept for young children, and the use of rewards from preschool onwards has muddied the waters a bit. The other day when I asked her what she'd got her Dojo points for (if you don't know, Google it, your kids will probably come across them at some point) she said, "it doesn't really matter what I got them for, it just matters that I got them!" Um, no Eleanor, it does matter why you got them because that's the bit you should be focussing on, not the points! I'm hoping that asking her why will eventually tell her that actually these points don't really mean anything, but doing the right thing does.

Determination? Yep, she's definitely got that - especially when she wants something and we're saying no! She does try really hard at most things, which makes me very proud. We've had a few "I can't do it" moments recently but I'm teaching her to add "yet" to that and to believe that with practice she can do most things.

Resilience is one area she struggles with. She hates not winning things, gets extremely upset when she makes a mistake in her work and lets little things get to her. In fact, she's a lot like me - which is why I hoped she would be more resilient!!

She is a bit inconsistent when it comes to kindness - that's not to say she's unkind, but sometimes she can be a bit brusque with other children, or ignore them completely, and she can make tactless comments. I don't think she does it deliberately though, she's just a bit behind with her social development. She can be incredibly kind at times - recently she made plaster models with some craft kits she was given and insisted on giving away all but one of them to her friends. And she'll often draw pictures for her close friends saying she loves them too!

She has sense of humour in spades - she finds lots of things funny and is great at making her friends laugh. One big source of pride for me is that she has understood sarcasm since she was just 4 - to be fair, in our house, you wouldn't last long without understanding it!! She's just starting to really understand how jokes work too, although she hasn't yet learned not to explain her joke afterwards!

She's a very independent girl. Despite having been with me almost constantly for three years she breezed into preschool without any trouble, and did the same with school. In fact on her second day of school I tried to hang around for a couple of minutes but she told me to go! She loves to learn how to do things herself, and if we get her in the right mood we can get her chopping vegetables, washing up and doing little chores pretty well.

Like kindness, she hasn't quite 'got' compassion yet. At times she can be very compassionate. Once when we were out there was a family walking behind us and the little boy with them was crying - Eleanor turned around and gave the boy a hug. I'm not sure he wanted it but the fact she recognised he was sad and wanted to help made me proud! She tries to cheer her friends up when they're sad too. But with her close family she can be oblivious to our feelings and needs - she'll often keep talking to me about something unrelated while I'm trying to stop Ezra from crying.

When she wants to be, she's very enthusiastic. She loves taking things into school for show and tell, gets really excited about special events and parties, and she will tell you everything about her special interests if you let her. (Tip: Never ever mention Minecraft to her. You'll be there for ages.) Her enthusiasm for school is waning a bit at the moment as she adjusts to the more formal education in Year 1, I'm hoping she'll recover her love of learning once she's got used to it.

Emotional maturity is the big sticking point at the moment. She is very much a feeler and wears her heart on her sleeve, which means when she's upset or angry everyone in a half-mile radius knows about it! But she can name her feelings which is great, and when she remembers she does try to calm herself. It's just not easy for her to remember in the heat of the moment, and sometimes she feels so justified in her emotions that she doesn't understand why she should calm down. I can see her being a good protestor in future years, she has righteous anger nailed, as long as she learns to channel it properly!

Overall, I think my goals for her are progressing quite well. She's still only small, and there are things I undoubtedly could have done better to teach her these qualities, but I feel like we're mostly on the right track. Would I change any of these goals? I don't think so. I think those ten qualities are very important and will enable her to achieve many things in life. I wouldn't change them for Ezra either, and can see him already starting to develop some - he's a determined little thing and finds lots to laugh about, especially when Eleanor's near!

What are your goals for your children?

Linking up with Day 7 of #Blogtober17 - Goals.

#Blogtober17

2 comments:

  1. My biggest goals for my kids is for them to be happy. Sounds like your little one is doing Great!! :) well done! #Blogtober17

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Mine too, but I think being happy relies on a lot of qualities and traits working together. Thanks, she's pretty awesome!

      Delete