I was dashing through the first big snowfall of the season with my oldest son on holiday and a great story came across the radio waves. The radio host, a mom herself, began to tell the story of the orange tree. Unlike some other fruit bearing plants, the orange tree sees the greatest success when it is planted and nurtured in a nursery for the first three years of its life. That’s right! Three years of careful watch, watering, tending to and care before the young tree can even be planted outside!
But it does not stop there! The tree continues to grow and mature in the great outdoors before reaching its peak at 12-15 years old. At that time, it bears its delicious fruit that is ready for us to enjoy. Isn’t that amazing! Whether a lone farmer or team working together, the care and dedication it takes for those tending to the fragile orange trees, to nurture them to their full maturation is truly a labor of love.
As we all watch our own children grow and mature through their adolescent years, the same level of care, nurturing and intentional focus that is needed to grow the orange tree is needed when helping our kids to blossom too. But I’m sure that just as the farmer encounters moments of frustration and impatience watching the tree grow slowly yet progressively over the years, we too can find ourselves harboring relatable sentiments.
It is hard to watch our children wrestle through tough intellectual challenges, especially those that may resonate with chapters from our own youth. And when emotions come into the picture blurring our senses, we can forget that our kids are not yet fully grown and capable of thinking, processing and doing things at the same intellectual level of us as adults. But just as the orange tree thrives due to the constant care it receives in its formative years, so too do our children prosper when under the protective wing of your guidance and consistent care.
As the dawn of the New Year breaks and academics resume for many of our kiddos, it’s important to stop, take a breath and remember to look at the big picture of how to best support, nurture and guide our children where they are in this season of their lives.
- If your child is struggling in a particular area of their academics, consider sitting down together and drawing up a “Staircase of Improvement.” For example: If reading and comprehension are a struggle, start by taking the first step up the staircase by choosing a book to read alongside them that matches their interests. From there move to step two where a place, space and time are made for successful daily reading. Step three, remain engaged with questions that are on point; “Share with me the Who, What, Where, When and How of what we just read together.” As you continue to move up the “Staircase of Improvement,” praise your child for their successes every step of the way!
- The “Staircase of Improvement” can be modified into the supportive tool that best meets the excitement and joy of learning for your child. Maybe your child loves race cars! Drawing up a visual gauge with a moveable needle as benchmarks are reached and surpassed helps keep children engaged and excited about the marked achievements in their learning journey.
- Remember, learning goals need to come from a place of Connection and Attunement in order to successfully Nurture your child where they are. Children learn best through play! So engaging with your child in the learning environment at home with the premise of enjoying the wonders of reading, math, science, history, music and art together can go an extraordinarily long way in the ultimate success of their growth and love of learning.
Our trained team of Childhood Development Experts and Certified Pediatric Ninja Specialists are here to help and support you and your child in their learning goals this New Year! Please don’t hesitate to connect with us so that we may best assist in helping your child thrive. As a Childhood Development Center, we believe in nurturing the whole child physically, intellectually, emotionally and socially on and beyond the mats in all that we do.
Proud Ninja Parents, as we all embark on the next great adventure of 2022, remember that you are surrounded by an incredible tribe of support. Challenges need not be faced alone as we strive to help each and every one of our children thrive. Just as the orange tree blossoms in its time from the care, consistent love and attention it receives, so too do our children bloom in their season!