I love analogies. When I find myself facing something I have to explain, I search my mind for a proper analogy and trot it out. It has come in handy several times when explaining my craziness to my spouse.
One that I come back to again and again is the similarities between potty training and learning to read.
Hear me out.
First, the social stigma or look-down-the-nose-upon those whose children are not potty training by a certain age or reading by a certain age.
There is pride in some parents when their child is potty trained or reading at a much younger age than ‘normal’ (whatever “normal” is). There is despair in the minds of other parents when either of these two abilities is delayed much past ‘normal.’
Secondly, some parents spend quite a bit of time trying to train their child in the science of proper elimination of their bodily waste. Most homeschooling parents spend quite a bit of time training their children in the mechanics of reading (phonics, sight words, blending, etc.) unless the child figures it out at a young age on their own.
Third, plenty of parents bang their heads against the wall, figuratively, when their child doesn’t seem to be able to properly perform the task which the parent is attempting to train them in repeatedly.
I have found that I have absolutely nothing to do with my child making that final leap that allows them to be properly reading or potty training. Something inside their head just “clicks” and while one day they cannot do the task, the next they can. In our house, we also have set-backs and tough days after the “clicking” takes place, but there is such a noticeable difference in ability that a new pattern quickly emerges.
Anyway, I just wanted to encourage those out there facing either of these two sometimes seemingly insurmountable tasks. Keep gently showing the proper steps and behaviors for a few minutes each day. Don’t despair and don’t get upset. Unless there is something physical that is not right and impeding the process, when the “click” occurs in your child’s brain, all the ground work you are laying with help them succeed all the more. This can make the difference between a child who automatically washes their hands after using the restroom and one who just leaves the bathroom. Your patience can determine if you spawn a life-long love of reading or a sullen peace treaty between your child and books.