This is me and my 8 year old son Chen.
2 weeks into the school year we moved Chen, and my other 2 children to a new school. The other 2 transitioned pretty smoothly- they made friends quickly, adapted to the new learning style and academic levels and all in all just rolled with it.
But not Chen.
Quite honestly, he simply fell apart. He was scared of his new teachers (this was a tougher school than their last one) and would obsessively check his schedule to make sure he had all the books he needed. He spent hours on homework that could have taken him 30 minutes but he was obsessed with doing it perfectly. He would cry at night feeling worried about the next day and he would wake up crying too. Some days, he just wouldn’t go to school.
I spoke with his teachers and we worked together to try to make this transition as smooth as possible. It was hard to watch him become so anxious and worried all the time.
But then something amazing happened…
Last night, I watched Chen as he casually did his homework; cutting and pasting pictures to make a book cover and singing along at the same time. He independently did all his work, asked if he could go to his friends house tomorrow after school and then looked at me and said ” Imma (Hebrew for Mom)- I like school”.
Ahhhh, what a moment.
I nearly cried, It took awhile but I was amazed by how far he had come. Saying “I like school’ might not be a big deal for other kids, but for Chen it was monumental. I took a moment and celebrated with him on how far he has truly come.
As always- I thought about the importance of ‘seeing how far he has come’ and how important that is for you and your child too.
Most of us focus so much on what we want out children to achieve next and as soon as our child achieves that- we breeze on by to the next milestone.
Here’s why it is so important to focus on how far our children have come:
1. It gives you energy and inspiration. When you only focus on what you want to happen next- you never stop to refuel and you can burn out- sound familiar?
When you stop and recognize how far your child has come (even if there are many more achievements you want for your child), you take a moment to be inspired by your child and your journey together and refuel, because as you know, this journey requires stamina.
2. It helps you identify what worked. When you stop and say “Wow- he just pointed at the toy, he never used to do that” or “She just sat on the toilet- she used to cry when she even passed the bathroom”, you can reflect on anything that may have contributed to this development.
This way, you can repeat what worked and not need to reinvent the wheel each time. Recognizing what contributed to forward movement in development is crucial in continued growth and success.
3.Your child will appreciate it. Yup- whether your child shows signs of recognition or not, being celebrated can be FELT. I still remember the face my parents made when they looked at me as a young girl with pride and I can feel myself melt.
Taking a moment to celebrate your child’s achievements and recognition that it was a true achievement for your child is profound- for you and your child.
***Note: Many parents will diminish their child’s accomplishments by comparing it to other kid’s the same age, “It’s not such a big deal that Danny held my hand as we walked to the park- other kids do it all the time”. One child’s accomplishments cannot be related to another. What is monumental for your child might not be a big deal for another. Each child has their own journey and you are on this journey with YOUR child- enjoy the wonders along the way.
Recognizing how far your child has come is important in many areas of development, especially communication. I am excited to share alot more strategies with you in my FREE training:
“Create Communication Breakthroughs: Learn 3 critical strategies so your child can understand and be understood – without the tantrums and frustration!“
Thursday, January 17th, 11am PST/2 pm EST
It’s only 3 days away- don’t miss out:
P.S. Don’t worry if you can’t make it live- I will send you a recording within 24 hours of the call.
P.P.S. I would love to hear what you got from this article- please post your comments below!