A Gentle Push

holding hands

Sometimes, all it takes is a gentle push. Especially with my daughter. It’s taken me a while to figure this out, though.

There are certain milestones my daughter has been reluctant to meet. I say reluctant because I think that is what it is. She has been slow to do certain things not because she can’t do them, but because she’s uncertain, and she wants to be sure before she proceeds.

This was true about walking. My daughter is a very tall child. She was also fairly heavy before she began to walk at almost eighteen months of age. I couldn’t wait for her to start. She was in the 25 plus pound range and breaking my back, and I really, really wanted to take her toddler self to the local farm. I just wasn’t going to do it if she was going to crawl around in the poopy mud. So after she had been pulling up for ages but refusing to let go of the furniture, I took her hands and started to walk with her, over and over again. A week later, she was walking with confidence.

I think that the same goes for writing and reading. I have a bright little girl. She loves books. Until a month ago, she’d shown absolutely no interest in reading or writing. I watched as the rest of her peers started to take joy in spelling their names. No interest. I introduced the idea of letters, played around with words, pointed them out everywhere we went. I was like an eager suitor skirting around the subject. It didn’t work.

Then I decided that we’d try practicing letters and reading a few times a week for a couple of weeks. We got the Bob Books, which are great for beginning readers. We played games writing letters and didn’t do more than fifteen minutes of practice at a time. After a month of this, she’s now reading simple words and writing words spontaneously. Coincidence? Hmmm.

Now, I am not generally one to push. I like to watch my daughter discover things on her own. The thing is, though, that I am beginning to think that she is one who needs a gentle push sometimes. A little nudge of “you can do it!” with a side of “have you tried this?” This goes against my general inclination, but I might try it again some day when I see that she’s more than ready to meet a milestone.

What do you think? Do you ever gently nudge your child towards a milestone, or do you try to take a hands-off approach?