Communication Happens In Everyday Moments

There’s been so much written about being “mom enough” and what it means to be a mom, in the firestorm over the recent Time Magazine article on attachment parenting. Really I don’t write much about current issues on Little Stories because I hope to share concepts and theories that are timeless, but after reading the original Time article it got me thinking. I read so many great posts about how just the fact that you are a mom IS enough, and how your kids just want you (by Triple T Mum), and I couldn’t agree more. All parenting theories and Little Stories theories aside, little ones just need you, in your true form.

I don’t ever want Little Stories to be part of the More Academics Earlier Push or the Be This Way Or Your Child Will Suffer Movement. I want Little Stories to encourage real interactions, to ask you to slow down, end nervous chatter, and to tune-in to your child during everyday activities. If you can share these real moments, in snippets throughout the day that’s really all your child needs to learn language- not flash cards, noisy toys, study time, or lavished language. No special toys, fancy projects, or early reading programs required.

I touched on this in my 10 Ways to Practice Waiting post, but Little Stories concepts are best implemented not during “learning” or “speech” time. And while it’s great to use these concepts when playing with your child, they work wonderfully when you are just engaged in your everyday routines. Times like brushing teeth, getting dressed, and having meals are engagement and communication goldmines! Because those routines are so familiar, children are more sure of what they are doing and have more of their concentration available to focus on learning language. Also, YOU can really focus on your child.

So, today (and hopefully tomorrow), instead of rushing through those routines to get to the important stuff, take time. Self care, home care, and daily routines ARE the important stuff. That’s life and it’s a wonderful time to bond with your child. As you move through the routines of tidying toys, sorting laundry, prepping meals, washing hands, or feeding pets, pause, watch your child, make eye contact, smile, and just be available.

Here’s to putting on shoes, having snack time, and brushing teeth!

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24 Responses
  1. This is such a great post. I don’t have “learning time” we do activities, crafts, play together when the moment takes us to that do but I don’t sit down and teach either J or T about speech or language or anything like that. I do though talk constantly to them and with them. Todays word of the morning from T (14 months) was Stuck, and this afternoon she decided to go with “Who is it” and “nose”, “Belly”, “Head” then “GONE!”. J (33 months) was going on about “Who’s my best friend?” “My Mummy is my best friend”, “Which are my best shoes” “My wellies are my best shoes!” It seems that his word was best and wanted to make sure that I knew about what was best in his terms. Funniest was “Which is the best cupboard” “The snack cupboard is the best cupboard!”. It’s all every day words for us.
    Cerys @ Rainy Day Mum recently posted..Tuesday Tots – some playdough funMy Profile

    • Kim says:

      Hi Cerys!

      Thank you! You’re right that crafts and activities are all so much fun and I don’t want parents to stop doing those things (EVER!). I just hope they know that their child is learning all of the time like you explained with J & T (so much fun!, especially the “best”) and no matter what not missing those times to connect.

      I’ve been thinking so much about the different types of parents. Some like doing crafts, some like cuddling, some like sports, and some like reading. I just hope parents (myself included) keep in mind that it’s great to follow your child’s lead and provide a variety of activities, but no matter what you are going to be better at certain activities than others. The perfectionist in me has a hard time with messy play and art. I will always make an effort to do those things with my daughter, but I’m trying to cut myself some slack and know that while messiness will never be my strength, I’ll be great at doing other things with her, and that ultimately she just needs me. That me, in our life, everyday, is just “enough”. :)

      Love to you, you wonderful mom!

  2. yes! This goes for EVERYTHING you want your child to learn – language, math, reading, etc. etc. Like you’ve said before, learning the names of shapes or colors isn’t nearly as important as learning “milk” or “sleepy.” And I was feeling a bit guilty about not “doing preschool” with Adam this year, but I realized he has learned everything he needs to learn through play and/or household chores!
    katie @ On the Banks of Squaw Creek recently posted..Make Things BeautifulMy Profile

    • Kim says:

      Hi Katie-
      I’m so glad you’re son is learning so much in these everyday moments and even more importantly that you are taking it slow with your little one and following what he’s interested in!

  3. Wonderful post! We try to make the most out of the “everyday” moments and I have really put off on doing a lot of the more traditional learning time with my son. He has learned a lot through play and everyday moments. He has recently started asking for more traditional learning time though, so I suppose we’ll be doing both!
    Joyce @Childhood Beckons recently posted..15 Outdoor Playdate ActivitiesMy Profile

    • Kim says:

      Joyce-

      Thank you so much for your kind words. I can tell from your blog that you have certainly taken advantage of many everyday moments. If your son’s ready for structured activities, and there is a time when every child hopefully will be, I think you should certainly follow his lead! Isn’t that exciting? A whole new world of learning for you both! I can’t wait to see what you both do. He’s so lucky to have a mom who is as creative and fun as you.

      I hoped with this post to remind parents that routines aren’t about just getting stuff done, they are learning opportunities too. Over time children will also become more and more independent in these routines and that becomes a whole difference experience and learning opportunity. We can’t let these moments pass us by, right?

  4. Patricia says:

    This is the first time I’ve been to your site and this is the first entry I’ve read. It really resonated with me. I find myself questioning, ‘am I doing enough for my child?’ You see, I don’t take time for flashcards, different languages or fancy toys. It’s just me and my boys. We finger paint, ‘cook,’ read stories and clean together. After reading this post I feel I can be a little more confident in my approach to parenting. Thank you.

    • Kim says:

      Patricia-
      That’s exactly what I hoped for. For everyone to feel confident in THEIR approach. Parenting is not a one size fits all thing and we each have to find OUR groove. As long as we are real and present, we are doing the right thing! Thank you!!

  5. Rebecca says:

    Great post – exactly what I believe too. Sometimes people say to me “oh I’m a rubbish mum becuase I don’t do crafts” probably because they see my blog. I just think it doesn’t matter what you do with them it could be crafts or the washing up or fixing the car, as long as you talk to them and show interest and make them a part of it.
    Rebecca recently posted..How to make a spin paintingMy Profile

  6. Wow, this is such a wonderful post. This is the first I have read of your blog, but I will certainly be following you. I will share this on Facebook as well. I think that everyone should read this!
    Bethany @ No Twiddle Twaddle recently posted..Children’s Book ReviewsMy Profile

  7. Thanks for the encouragement. I feel like I did this with my first son. we played together and I talked to him and sang to him as we did household chores and his learning just developed. I do the same with my second son but he has a language delay. It is SOOO hard not to cave in and push him harder. I see him making progress every day. It’s just slower than other kids his age (in language). I have had people nicely comment that maybe he should be in preschool or enrolled in something to help him. He’s only 2 and I wasn’t ready to send him off to formal preschool yet. This post is a great reminder that simply doing more at a young age will not be what benefits him. I think he will make progress if we continue with our daily routine and infuse as much language into that routine as possible. Great post!
    Jackie Higgins recently posted..Zoo Books for PreschoolersMy Profile

    • Kim says:

      Jackie-

      Welcome! I think you’ve come to the right place! Hopefully you will be able to infuse the Little Stories concepts into your daily routines and play and begin to see changes in your son! Please keep me posted.

  8. Vicky says:

    You make a lot of good points. The women in my bible study (many of a different generation) were talking today about how this generation of moms have so much pressure on them. How it is really the first that is so child centered and with that they have a huge amount of guilt that they are not doing enough. But as you have described, so much happens in seemingly ordinary moments. Vicky from http://www.messforless.net

  9. Gina says:

    What a wonderful reminder this post is! Since we adopted our son last year, I have always tried to speak to him as much as I could during the day to help with the language transition and bonding. I explained things I was doing as I did them, like baking a cake. Even though he didn’t really understand, he was getting used to my voice and having someone there for him. Now that he’s getting older, I love that he can “talk” back with me a bit more. We even try to incorporate silly songs for certain chores like brushing your teeth. It makes the day so much more fun and connected. Thanks for sharing this lovely post!
    Gina recently posted..Day 46: Kid’s Get Arty with van GoghMy Profile

  10. What a lovely blog you have and a lovely post! Those everyday moments end being the best ones anyway, right? I find those are the times you get the best feedback from your children and the light in their eyes when they realize they can do something on their own: pour milk into their cereal, brush teeth, let out the bath water, put on lotion, help with chores. We LOVE crafts and learning time, but most of the learning occurs when we least expect it. :) Thank you for sharing!

  11. So glad I read this! Really needed it this morning. This is the first time Ive come across your blog too; its fab! bookmarked, , subscribed and shared! :-)

  12. Lovely post! I think you are absolutely correct. I think that sometimes parents, especially moms, get caught up in trying to do more, when that is not at all what the child needs. It really is about sometimes just doing whatever it is you are doing intentionally. Many times our everyday routines are the most magical and connected parts of our day. And I see this being true even as they continue to grow. Thanks for sharing!
    Megan @ Coffee Cups and Crayons recently posted..Mother’s Day Card and a Money FlowerMy Profile

  13. Danielle says:

    You are such a kindred spirit! I always love reading your thoughts on parenting.

  14. What a great reminder! I was just thinking this morning how with my first I used to take our time with all of those routines and see each one as a learning opportunity for her, but nowadays, with two, I tend to be always rushing one or the other or both through the routines to get to the next thing on our ‘to-do’ list. :-( Thanks for the reminder to slow down and let them learn.
    Jane @ Mama Pea Pod recently posted..{Painting Nails}My Profile

  15. Ali says:

    Great post Kim, every time I sit down and try to ‘teach’ something to my daughter she completely resists. It works so much better if things are taught doing everyday things…counting out grapes, help with food shopping and so on. I love your blog and you have great ideas. Thanks for sharing.
    Ali recently posted..A miniature rock poolMy Profile

  16. Stacey says:

    Your words ring true! I especially love your point about the flash cards. I don’t use flash cards with my daughter. I know she’ll learn to talk by talking with me, hearing me talk to her, etc. Flash cards are never a substitute for a loving, caring parent who openly communicates with their child. (I don’t know why some people view the use of them as a way to get their child ahead. For math, yes. For early childhood language, no.)

    A friend just sent me the link to your blog. I’m so excited to find it!
    Stacey recently posted..Three Board Books Before BedMy Profile

    • Kim says:

      Rebecca-

      I’m very excited for you and hope you’ll write me back and let me know how it goes! In general kids seem so happy with their “new” toys they don’t remember what is missing! BUT if there was something your child was really missing I think it would be a great “special” time toy for when mommy or daddy needed to prep dinner, do some work, or make a phone call. What do you think?

    • Kim says:

      Stacey-

      Welcome to Little Stories! Can’t wait to hear more from you!

  17. Oh, I so needed to read this! We try to take in a lot of these every day moments, but aren’t always so good at it. Recently, I have got caught up in “teaching” my 2.5 yr old his letters, and after reading this I think I can let myself off the hook a little!

    You have one me over, I am your newest follower! Also, adding you to my links page. I am a pediatric OT blogging about sensory play and feeding your kid.

    Thank You!
    Alisha @ YourKidsTable recently posted..Sensory Pillow MountainMy Profile