As I was perusing Pinterest last week, I noticed one of the pins was a toddler lesson plan. Out of curiosity I clicked over and saw that this was a site that had lesson plans for toddlers.
The sample lesson had walking listed as the skill to be mastered. Walking. There were materials listed and instructions for allowing the child to walk on different surfaces.
Now, this very well could have been a site specifically designed for preschool employees, and I'm sure the person who made these lesson plans meant only to be helpful, but as I read over the lesson plan I was imagining stumbling across that plan as my 30 year old self.
I was a young, overwhelmed, stay at home, nursing mother of two children in diapers. I could barely manage to keep the diapers I changed from piling up on the changing table. There were crayon scribbles on the wall, play dough balls ground into the carpet, and lost puzzles pieces floating in the toilet. Dinner and laundry and sweeping were often left undone. During those long days, I was the only person in the house who could pour milk, tie shoes, and wipe a bottom.
I envisioned my tired self coming across that lesson plan and breaking down into tears. Just one more thing to add to my busy day. One more task to complete. One more expectation I couldn't meet.
Dear Overwhelmed Young Mother,
You don't need lesson plans for your toddler to learn to walk. You don't need a list of materials, or objectives, or instructions.
Don't be fooled into thinking your child won't thrive unless you are making marks on a checklist.
Your child only needs your time, your love, and your attention.
Hold him. Read him picture books. Clap when he takes his first step. Hold his hand as he walks beside you. Smile at him. Snuggle with him at bedtime.
I hope you are not writing these things down, Young Mother. There is no need. God has written them on your heart already. Don't ignore the mothering instinct you have been given by your creator.
Love your toddler. That's the only lesson plan you need.
Been There Done That