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HOT HOUSING DOESN’T STOP AT TODDLERS

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Hot housing definition “educate or teach (a child) to a high level at an earlier age than is usual.”

Hot housing – hot topic, be it about the inequality gap or whether toddlers should be learning Mandarin. But what I do know is that parental ambition, wanting the best for your child is not a bad thing and also, maybe they feel they don’t have a choice in order to give their child the best start. Parental ambition does run high in the UK but schools play their part in this. They want well adjusted, rounded individuals who are social team players. These skills they get from extra-curricular activities outside core school time and are positive experiences.

It’s not just toddlers we have to be concerned about, children are tested for school from five years old upwards for the main point entry exams. They often have never had to sit such rigorous exams and it can all be quite bewildering, not to mention stressful for both the children and parents. I’ve heard stories about teens in top London schools who are already on anti-depressants to cope with the stress of their GCSEs and A-levels.

One expert says we have turned parenting into an unpleasant chore and that you should mould your kids less and enjoy your life more. The kids I teach have pretty packed schedules. It’s a full school day which can be as long as the average adult work day, then afer school clubs, then home, dinner, tutoring/homework/instrument practice, then bed. I have spoken about this before. These kids have very little down time but as long as it’s not bordering on oppression, school days are busy.

If your child flourishes in what they are doing, that’s fine and the challenge meets the skills required. But every child is different. It’s when they are being pushed in a direction which is proving stressful and affecting their physical and mental well being. Entrance exams are such examples of this. Your child needs to understand why they are doing what they are doing and buy in to the process, rather than it simply being your decision. Squeezing exam prep into an already hectic schedule of ballet, swimming, piano and homework can be counterproductive for some children, while others calmly take on the challenge and excel. When I speak to the boys about which schools they want to go to,  their decision-making process usually involves consideration of how big the sports field is or how well equipped the science lab. Your child’s priorities are different to yours.

If your child especially struggles with a subject, it is doubly important to explain what you are going to do and why, otherwise they will get depressed. I’ve had a child who understood what was expected but still felt the pressure and lost appetite and wasn’t sleeping. But we worked together, she passed the exam and now she is a different girl, supremely confident and happy.

So while it is good to have a hectic schedule, children also need their downtime. Time out to learn, play and process everything they are learning. If they do it under their own speed, they will be happy and successful.

 

 

 

 

 

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