Prepare Them For The Future

[Image description: A picture of two speech bubbles, one labeled “Q” and one labeled “A” with question and answer on them that read, “Do I prepare them for the future even if it means they don’t get what they need now?” “You can best prepare them for the future by giving them what they need now!” There are little sparkles and doodles on the image to make it cutesy, with a teal, pink, and yellow color palette. My handle, @occuplaytional, is also on the image. End description.]

Someone recently told me, “Ugh, I know that the 3yos in my preschool class are supposed to be wiggly and playful and loud and silly. But I know that they’ll have higher expectations in the 4yos class next year. I’m always torn between letting them be themselves, and trying to prepare them for what will be expected of them next school year so it’s hopefully not so much of a shock to them.”

A lot of parents and caregivers feel this “but I have to prepare them for the future” pressure, and I always encourage them to ignore that voice as much as humanly possible for two reasons:

First, subjecting a kid to developmentally inappropriate expectations early does not actually make them better at meeting developmentally inappropriate expectations later on.

And second, because when you’re a kid, even a small amount of time may have massive amounts of developmental changes in it.

Parents will be like, “I need to try to teach my kid to write before kindergarten, it’s already May, they start in September and they don’t know how to write.” No, that’s four months away! Four months is very nearly 1/10 of their entire lifespan! A massive amount of developmental change can happen in 1/10 of your lifespan!

They are three, four, five! Let them be who they are now. Let them work on what they’re working on now. Don’t preemptively try to crush them into a mold you’re worried the future has for them.

Let the problems of September be the problems of September — you can’t fix the problems of the future now. Give them what they need now.