on parenting

Alex (while reading Us Weekly): Christina Applegate says her 18 month old recites the whole alphabet.

Andy: That Christina Applegate is a dirty liar.

C'mon parents, step up your game. I'm ready to read.

Christina Applegate is probably not actually a liar, and that’s okay. With all due respect to her and everyone else’s parenting decisions, we’re going a different route. We’re not going to be the those parents who have our 1.5 year old memorize the alphabet or teach our 2.5 year old to read.

First of all, I learned to read with everyone else in my first grade class, and I turned out just fine. (Although I still do remember being mad at my mom for not teaching me at home, because the kids who already could read got to be in what seemed like a super special and elite reading group, darn them. But luckily I got over that.)

Second of all, come on, he’s a kid. I’d rather spend our moments together giggling at Abbey or blowing bubbles or walking along the shore. These are the sort of memories that I’m so glad to have from childhood, and I think one day he’ll be grateful for them too. Why make life serious and achievement driven before it has to be?

So if Flynn does happen to whip out the ABCs or learn to read before he starts school, don’t congratulate us. Credit most likely belongs to Mouk or The Hive or Mickey Mouse Clubhouse. Yes, we have also decided to be the sort of parents who let our toddler watch TV. Horror of horrors.



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6 Responses to on parenting

  1. Tracy says:

    I agree with your style completely! I remember freaking out when my son was around 2 and seeing a friend’s photo on FB of her 2 year old proficiently riding a big wheel bike. My 2 year old couldn’t get the concept of pedaling and I thought that my poor child would NEVER learn to ride it! As you can imagine he learned how to do it and is quite the speed racer. I realized then, also, that they will all learn everything they need in life when they are ready. And hey—Disney and Nick Jr. taught my child everything from his letters and numbers to his shapes and colors to even recognizing patterns! He’s a wonderfully adjusted and smart 4 year old — late pedaling and TV watching and all!

  2. Alex says:

    @ Tracy, I think we’d be good friends. 🙂

  3. Dani says:

    I can totally relate to this. Kids should have time to be kids and no amount of interactive toys or flashcards will change a kid who is going to develop and learn at their own pace. By the time their are 6 or 16 no one is going to remember who talked first or waved first or walked first. There’s even all sorts of new theories and such now that forcing kids to learn things we want them too at too young and age dampers their ability to learn through exploration and such. So hurray for “bloom at your own pace!” kids.

  4. Quelle Belle says:

    Alex, if it makes you feel any better, I could read pre-kindergarten (that’s not the part that’s supposed to make you feel better.) Throughout kindergarten and first grade, I was always getting punished for reading “too fast” or “too much” (kind of hard to believe there was ever such a thing as “too much reading.”) Plenty of recesses were spent sitting at my desk (without any books) & watching other kids play outside, all because I had the nerve to be accidentally literate. We can partially blame that dastardly Sesame Street. No wonder Romney wants to cut funding. The last thing we need are kids watching educational TV & getting too big for their britches!

  5. Lora says:

    This is great. My thoughts exactly 🙂 A friend of mine just posted on Facebook that her 19 month old son is “too advanced” for his museum play group because he can name five things that start with the letter E, and the teacher is only teaching them two. Meanwhile, my kid spins around and dances with the dog when he hears the ABC song, lol. Every kid at their own pace, I say. A lot can be said for learning through play too! Creativity is undervalued in today’s society.

  6. Camille says:

    I completely agree! I could read and write by the time I hit kindergarten and my parents STILL complain about all the trouble I got in (to be fair, I also have adhd) because I was bored, but not socially at a place where they felt comfortable moving me up a grade or two. Learning to read early did not put me ahead in life in any way at all (in fact, I’m sort of behind with that whole education thing). I don’t plan on teaching my son to read early either.

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