My son started walking very early on, he was just six months when he learned to walk. As a new mother so many people offered me advice, unwarranted most of the time. Since he was walking so early, I was advised to start potty training him. Of course, I listened, tried and failed miserably. He just wasn’t ready. So, I put it to the side until he was three and he finally caught on after reading Once Upon a Potty, and watching the Once Upon a Potty video a million times. He also loved Thomas the Tank Engine. I purchased Thomas the Tank Engine underwear and he really wanted to wear them, but I told him that they were for boys who used the potty. That book, video, and underwear coupled with my loving, patient persistence were the causes of his potty-training success.
Another piece of advice that I was given was that I should start teaching him how to read and write. So, again I tried. He just wasn’t ready. He hated holding the pencil in his hand and often cried about it. He just wanted to play. This taught me a very important lesson. Not all children are ready for academics and that it was alright to let him be a toddler and do what toddlers do-play. Play is so important for infants, toddlers and young children. Unfortunately, we are living in a society where they are making preschool and kindergarten so academic because of the pressures of standardized testing. Recess in most schools is even shorter now due to the academic curriculum. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics there are many benefits to play and they include the following:
• Healthy brain development
• Strengthened dexterity, cognitive & emotional development
• Develops creativity & exploration
• Develops confidence & resiliency
• Conflict resolution skills
• Self-advocacy skills
• Learn to share, work with others & negotiate
• Lowers the risk of obesity
So, don’t rush them. Let them play. Don’t give in to the pressures of our society. You are doing a great job parenting your child/children. Allow them to play. In playing they are learning a great deal. Trust me, they will be better adults for it.

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