The end of the first term of school is almost here, which means a report card will be sent out shortly. For those with little ones who have just started school this is probably pretty exciting but does your toddler really need a report card?
Every parent thinks their child is streaks ahead of every other child, until you open the very formal report card that says “your child (age 2) struggles to cut with a straight line”… and then you look a bit further and there next to attention, is a 2 (out of 5). Suddenly a report card tells you you are raising a delinquent destined to be the badly behaved kid no one likes because they can’t cut a straight line at 2 years old!
Or are you?
The short answer is no, you are not. The long answer is no, you are not.
A report card is great, they are needed and they can be valuable tools for figuring out any issues your child may have, but honestly, not when they are still toddlers.
You can put two toddlers who attend the same school next to each other. Toddler one may be able to build a 20 piece puzzle no problem, but cannot hold a crayon right. Toddler 2 can draw a person complete with eyes and ears, but is unable to count to 5 yet.
This doesn’t mean that child one is never going to be able to hold a crayon or that child two is going to be terrible at maths, all it means is that they are developing differently.
Rating a two or three-year-old in a similar way that you rate a child in grade R is unfair to the child and creates unnecessary stress for the parents. It is possible to assess the child and discuss any possible concerns with the parents without sending them a summary of their child’s inadequacies.
Obviously a report card has positives and there are probably a lot more things your child is able to do than not; but a parent will spot the one the child is struggling with first, simply because that is how we are wired as parents.
There are many many parents who have spent hours getting their child to cut a straight line, count to 10, colour in the lines and build puzzles, when they probably would have figured it out somewhere along the line.
It can, and is, argued that a report card is needed so that parents can work on the areas their children are struggling with or that issues are raised before they become major problems. This is a fair comment, but can be done with a note in the homework book saying “work a little bit on counting”, or by setting up a meeting to discuss how to help your little one play better with others.
There is no need for a document that rates your two-year-old on a scale of 1-5. When you get your little one’s report card – read it, learn from it, but don’t take it all too seriously. There are many school years ahead where the report card will matter!
What are your thoughts on report cards for little ones?