At Friday morning Play Shoppe this week, I came up with what I thought would be a really fun activity for the children. I taped one large outline of a Christmas tree and two smaller ones on the carpet in the gathering room with green duct tape. I had baskets of tinsel and shiny items for the children to have fun decorating them.
All the adults who saw the set-up thought it was such a wonderfully appealing idea. The children would love it – but … not so much.
The children, in fact, seemed to wonder where in the world this tree we were talking about was. Parents would say “come, let’s decorate the tree”, and they would look all around – “what tree?” they seemed to be wondering.
It was then that I realized that, of course, a young child’s perspective was totally unlike that of our adult one – all of whom were tall enough to look down at the tree outline and clearly see the image in it entirety.
A definitely different perspective was present for the children.
As parents, this is a good example of the misunderstandings that can arise with our children in so many varied situations. Our adult expectations may not be in sync with where our children’s abilities or development lie, no matter how simple or clear they may appear to us.
Therein often lies the struggle we find ourselves in with our children.
It seems at this time of year with the holidays upon us, expectations can often arise that our young children are not ready to handle or understand. Often we are overly extended ourselves, what with traveling, large family get-togethers and pressure to have our children be on their very best behavior.
So add this to your “to do” list – and check it twice. What are the situations and schedules your child will be experiencing and how can they be pared down to meet their developmental and emotional needs?
This can be such a very special magical time for young children and parents if we are able to keep in focus our different perspectives.
Viva la difference!