I read a few different blogs and I am subscribed to a parenting newsletter. I read the occasional book or magazine, and generally try and absorb information about raising children in a fairly random fashion. I know that I am generally on the right track, at least in my own ideas of what parenting should be. I am happy with how much child eats, her behavior is not out of line for a 3 year old, temper tantrums are a part of life, but she doesn’t hit me (although she did go through a brief phase of trying it out) and I feel like I am nipping most problems in the bud when they arise.
I try and let my daughter have space to do her own thing, not hover over her too much, but also spend some time engaged in activities that she wants to do. We talk about things that have happened in the past, and things that will happen in the future, and there are certain things that always happen at the same time (Ballet on Thursdays, singing and ice cream in kindergarten on Fridays). J’s Dad loves to snuggle on the sofa and watch cartoons on weekend mornings, so when I am on early morning weekend duty, the TV doesn’t go on at all. To hear the words “Mum, I need an apple” brings joy to my heart, even though we have arguments about chocolate on a regular basis.
But still I think it’s important to read about parenting, for two reasons – my child is constantly developing, and what was not relevant a month ago could be right on the button today, and there can always be something I have missed.
It’s always nice and affirming to come across a list of “Things you should be doing with your 3 1/2 year old” and be able to tick all the boxes. A few weeks ago I came across such a list via in a parenting newsletter, and I read through thinking “yup, doing that already, yup, yup, yup..” until I came across one point which hadn’t occurred to me. It was collecting things. Collecting anything means you have to learn about the thing you are collecting. Whether that is comparison and sorting, creating memories – recalling where you collected each particular item, there are many benefits. And encouraging a collector doesn’t necessarily mean you are cultivating a hoarder!
Reading this point co-coincided with the arrival of a book we got given – Stina by Lena Anderson, which is unfortunately ridiculously priced on amazon. It’s the story of a girl who visits her grandfather every year at the seaside, and collects things she finds on the beach. During a big storm, an old cabinet is washed up on the shore, and she takes this gift from the storm and stores her collection in it. It’s a very sweet story, and my daughter loved it from the first read-through.
A short time afterwards, she stopped on a walk in the forest and picked up a stone. If I hadn’t read the tip and the children’s book, I would have probably told her to leave it in the forest, but instead I whipped out a shopping bag and gave it to her. She collected a small number of sticks and stones, and when we got home I gave her a shoebox to keep them in.
She was delighted by this, and very exited to have a box with things that she had picked up herself. I only have to take care where she collects the things from, that its not from the gutter or from a dog-wee soaked area, but this is easily solved by going on specific collecting walks in the forest near our house.
I am so glad that she is collecting sticks and stones, and not plastic horses or something else expensive and tasteless. Also, sticks fit in so well with the whole Winnie the Pooh pooh-sticks thing.
This fits in so well with the Montessori concept, as she can sort and compare sizes and colors. She can also paint the rocks and add googly eyes to them.
This hobby is slightly tricky to do in the city, because of all the trash that’s around, but by steering her towards the places where the nature is a bit more pristine we can avoid a lot of nastiness.
Its something that she can own 100 percent. I am so very glad to have read the right thing at the right time, otherwise I would have possibly overlooked this opportunity altogether.
If you guys know any other good children’s books about collecting, please post them in the comments below!