We’ve all been there. We scroll through Instagram or Pinterest. We see photos of other moms doing complicated activities with their kids. The results wouldn’t be out of place at the Museum of Modern Art. So we comb through online stores looking for the materials. We’re so tired at the end of the day, but we stay up an extra hour prepping for tomorrow’s activities. Maybe we download a few guides or print out a few worksheets. The next day, we proudly present our efforts to our toddlers. They spend a few minutes smearing all the paint and food coloring (of different colors!) on the floor, then they quickly proceed to run around the room. So finally we give up, and conclude that “screen-free activities just don’t work”. We give screen time, then feel mom guilt about it.
Or maybe we’re in a mom group on Facebook. “Should I be teaching my one year old to read?” a mom will ask. We see hundreds of different responses, most of them saying that they printed out reading worksheets or even bought an expensive program. We see moms who post, “My 18 month old can count to twenty!” or “So proud of my two year old who can already read!”
I have a childhood friend who owns a preschool. She tells me that she gets complaints from parents who say that what they teach is too simple. Parents will approach her and compare what other more academic preschools are teaching. Preschools that promise advanced academic skills are selling to parents, because that’s what parents have been told to expect.
Most child development experts will say that first grade is the time that kids should learn to read. In one of the developmental assessment tools in my clinic, the test for a child in kindergarten includes recognizing single letters of the alphabet. The test for a child in first grade includes reading CVC words (“cat”, “boy”). So why is it that we want our kids to already be reading well even before they enter kindergarten?
Our kids pay the price. They enter second grade already tired of school and frustrated at their lack of abilities. While some of these kids may indeed have some delays, for many, it’s just a mismatch between the child’s developmental level and the expectations of the school and the parents.
This pressure for academics, the pressure to be “advanced”, can start in the toddler years. I feel for all the toddler moms out there who have mom guilt for not being like the Instagram and Facebook moms. I get frustrated when I look around and see all the misinformation about toddler development that isn’t necessarily accurate, and that only makes moms more stressed and the toddlers more pressured than ever. I see activities that are too complicated. Materials that are choking hazards. So many moms are struggling with this, and there hasn’t been an accessible, step by step resource to help them with developmentally appropriate learning through play.
So I decided to build it. If we can build a strong foundation during the toddler years, if we can equip our toddlers with the skills that they actually need (and not the ones that social media says they need), we’ll be on our way to setting them up for a happy, successful and fulfilling life. I know I am going against the grain here. I am going against a society that overwhelmingly wants to force our kids to grow up and be little adults before they are ready.
Effective Mommy was designed for toddler moms who want a plan that actually works.
We toddler moms feel like there are not enough hours in a day as it is. We would rather not spend our precious time collating all sorts of activities and materials. We don’t want to spend more time preparing to be with our kids that actually being with our kids. At the same time, we want our kids to learn. We don’t want them to miss out if there are important things that they should already be doing.
What if I told you that by doing less, and focusing on the things that actually matter, your child will actually be learning more? This is something that we don’t often hear, that’s why I felt it is important for me to build this site in order to get this message out. It can sometimes feel like our society has us on a hamster wheel – and this applies even to our lives as toddler moms. It is my mission to get us out of this hamster wheel so that we enjoy the toddler years. It is my mission that after the toddler years, we can say that we made the most out of them.
If this possibility excites you, then this site is for you! I bring in my professional experience as a developmental and behavioral pediatrician and combine it with my personal experience as a toddler mom. Everything that I write on this site will be based on research and on the principles of child development. I will help you sort through all the confusing and conflicting information on the internet, so that you can focus on what matters. Focus on what will really be effective for our kids and their futures.
You see, what we’re building as toddler moms is not just our kids’ futures. Let’s think of all that our kids will be able to do in the future. The people they will help. The projects they will start. The good that they will accomplish. Join the Effective Mommy community, and let’s build a better world, one toddler at a time.