Childhood Development, Do you Worry About It? - The Koch Family
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Childhood Development, Do you Worry About It?

I have a lovely daughter named Charlotte and as a parent the first five years of her life have plagued me with worry about her development, fitting in at childcare and preschool. I spent a lot of time worrying about her behavior, if it was normal or if she was antisocial.

As an infant she was very clingy and did not separate very well at all. It took months and months of tears to be able to leave her at the child care centre and still after two years she had days where she would not want us to leave her there, even though she enjoyed it and was happy when we returned. She did not play with too many of the children but did over time develop a strong bond with one little girl who was also quiet and reserved.

As a toddler she was quite well behaved, but as with all toddlers, had tantrums, screamed about things, pushed the boundaries and would grab things at the supermarket and want them. Sometimes she would bang her head with her hands when frustrated and get angry with things in an instant. She would snatch toys sometimes and not want to share that often.

By the time she was three and started at preschool, she had two years of child care under her belt so I thought it would be a breeze. She was used to being somewhere else with other children so I thought she would settle into preschool quite well. How she challenged my ideas that year. Pre-school, started well, the first day was exciting in her beautiful new uniform. She didnt want me to leave, just like the other children but she seemed alright. She had been for an orientation twice so the place was familiar and she settled in.

It all went down hill from there. Each day was a struggle to leave, most days she was in tears. The days she didnt cry she would position herself at the dolls house or another activity which did not have other children near it and play all by herself. She would not ever sit at the activity tables with other children and if I tried to convince her to go to one, she would get very upset. I was devastated and crying inside as I left thinking how sad for my child to be so alone.

After a little she even wet her pants at preschool a few times, which was quite strange since toilet training was not ever an issue. We talked to her teacher and she said they were taken to the toilet in breaks and they could go when they needed to.

By the time Charlotte had been there six months and we had parent teacher night, the teacher actually said she had never met another child like her and she had tried everything to get her to join in at recess and lunch playing games with the other children, but Charlotte would go to the sand pit instead. The teacher said Charlotte seemed happy enough, but didnt join in very much.

Birthday parties were my most worried about event. She would be invited and then go off by herself and do things, sometimes she would join in, but not that frequently. She was shy and reserved and did not really like lots of people around her.

By the time Charlotte turned five, something very strange happened. She had her fifth birthday, she grew up. She started school and loved it. Sometimes there were tears and separation anxiety, but mostly, she was fine. For the first parent teacher night, I was eager to hear all the news, I waited to hear about her interpersonal skills and prepared for the worst. Charlotte is well liked, her teacher said. She has lots of friends and works well in groups but is also able to do tasks on her own with little assistance, she is resilient and copes with school very well. She is not led by others and does not get coerced by peer group pressure to do something she does not want to. Hold on, is there more than one Charlotte in this class I thought, is this MY daughter you are talking about?

Charlotte is now a happy 6 year old. She has friends, plays well with others, is happy at school and is very intelligent, excelling in math and reading. But remember it was not always like that and at times I questioned my parenting skills and questioned if she was a normal little girl. Normality and childhood development come in varying degrees and stages. Sometimes it just takes patience, perseverance, consistency, understanding and time for children to develop at their own pace, in their own way and in their own time.

NB Seek assistance from specialists if you feel your childs development is well outside of the average range.


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