Help! I’m Not a Pushy Mother!

Pushy parents – they’re the bread and butter of parenting and we’re all guilty of it occasionally. Aren’t we?

Well actually, no. I don’t think I am. I desperately want my girls to succeed at whatever they turn their hands to, but can’t really be bothered to do much to nudge them forward. If they’re going to do it, they’ll do it by themselves. I hope!

first swimming lesson

For example, Bunny started swimming lessons in May. This week she almost swam properly, unaided. In the time she’s been having her weekly half hour lessons, guess how many times I’ve taken her swimming beyond that? Yep. None! And we live by the sea so almost have no excuse in the summer (other than it being too cold to venture in). It’s on my to do list though. Like everything.

At her ‘Pupil Progress Check’ this week, her teacher told us she was doing ok. Yes, just ok. She was keeping up, but…! Her writing needs a lot of extra effort, her maths is sloppy and her reading is on target for her age group.

reading a book

Afterwards, we flicked through her work that had been left outside for us to see and over and over again were the comments “you need to finish this” and “try harder”. There was a lump in my throat as I realised that by taking the approach that she was too young to be worrying about ‘homework’ outside of school, I may have inadvertently failed her at an important time in her development.

Writing Left Handed

Don’t get me wrong, she does the homework that’s sent home with her – a reading book each day and then some maths and writing tasks over the weekend (which already feels like a lot for a 5 year old). But I don’t push her and we just get it done. Perhaps I should be encouraging her to write and think about numbers more.

Writing Right Handed

Her writing is worrying, but she is still deciding if she is right or left handed! This morning I watched as she ate her breakfast cereal with the spoon in her left hand as if it was the most normal thing in the world. And to her it is. But when you don’t have a dominant hand, how can you hone a skill such as writing?

reading to herself

Her reading is going well though – she just seems to suddenly get it. And I’m a little surprised that they deem her to be just on target as she is reading everything she can these days. With no pushing from me. Including my tweets, texts and WhatsApp messages – which can sometimes be awkward!

So now I’m thinking it might be time to be a little more proactive in her education. In fact, in both her and her sister’s. As she kissed me goodnight, Bear asked if I would help her with her writing. Nothing like a call to arms from a three year old to motivate you into action after all!

I want to encourage Bunny to start writing little stories and am hunting for a lovely A5 notepad for her to do that in. But I have no idea about the maths stuff. How do you make numbers fun? I hate them so am completely clueless! Any advice?

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11 comments on “Help! I’m Not a Pushy Mother!
  1. Hazel Scott says:

    Oh don’t push, be proud not to be push! I used to be a Montessori teacher and applied a lot of the philosophy to my parenting. They’ll work at what they are interested in, and just let them do more and more of that outside of school. My two are now 21 and 16 and I always said to them, do what you love or what you’re good at, and you may not find out what that is for years. Eldest in final year of footwear design degree, youngest just started Btec in photography after a very non academic route. Make the numbers fun (I hold my hand up and admit I would take them to Claire’s Accessories and say, what could you get for £5 and they worked it out beautifully)… piles of stones on the beach or shells – a pile of 1 then 2 then 3 then 4 etc till you’ve formed some patterns. They understand the numbers on the pages and how they relate far better if they get the visual stuff. And writing or spelling? Supermarket shop “I need to buy 2 things that begin with ‘ch’ – what can you think of” (Usually cheese and chocolate)! x

  2. I teach Reception so can help a little on the ideas front. If you want to email me I would be happy to talk through anything. Depending what it is she needs help with maybe some maths games? Orchard Toys do some fun bingo games and other types of games that involve counting. Otherwise going on bug hunts and getting her to write the number, or writing them in shaving foam? Finger painting? xx

  3. Hey, don’t sweat it, we’re all learning this stuff as we go along, how can we possibly get everything right from the off! I think it’s really easy to get swallowed up with constantly doing stuff with them, rather than letting them just be and play… a. they’re only children for a short time and b. they learn SO much by being able to freestyle. We do the reading thing and writing thing, because I’m passionate about reading, but we don’t do it to excess and as for numbers and science, I wasn’t doing much on this cos it’s never been my strong-point, but we just got a Water Science kit from a well known online retailer 🙂 and M loves it! On the numbers front, my co-editor at MML has transformed my thoughts on Maths and helping kids with maths, I won’t be rude enough to leave a link here, I’ll tweet you, but she’s done a whole bunch of brilliant posts on maths for kids. xx

  4. You sound so similar to me. I have been very similar up until this year and am now making a concerted effort to sit down with Grace and take some time to help her. There is a brilliant free online resource for education with the BBC which includes Maths – – Grace absolutely loves it as they make it fun (I enjoy it too). Thanks for linking to #PoCoLo x

  5. It’s so hard to get the balance right. My son is in reception. He loves reading so it’s no problem getting him to sit and do something he enjoys. Writing however is a whole different ball game. He hates it. Sooo much harder to get them to do something they hate. I stuck gold the other day when I suggested he write a letter to Batman and suddenly he was interested. When I can get down to his level and inside his mind I can help him. But there are days when that is hard to do. Is it just me or do they seem to get a lot of homework already! #PoCoLo

  6. Emma T says:

    I worry about all this for N. My mum was didn’t work until we were older, so pushed us quite a lot to push us to what we could do academically compared with school which wasn’t really geared for people who could do the work easily.

    But I work full time need to cook tea when we get home, and the OH hated school and refuses to even try to read or write for himself, so he won’t help. I dread to think when we’re going to fit in doing homework or supporting N because I wouldn’t want it to eat into weekends.

    Given his current lack of interest (he’s 4 next week, and still can’t (or won’t) count past 14, and is poor at recognising numbers. He won’t sound any letters out of his own accord, I have to get him to copy me. I’m hoping he’ll get it when he starts school.

    Hopefully that little bit of a boost from you will help, and maybe the school should be encouraging more or guiding you on ideas to help.

  7. ERFmama says:

    I think it’s very hard when you go to the school or even in our case it was pre-school and then hear stuff like this.
    My eldest is 10 and does quite well, but we had our meeting with the pre-school a few days ago and was told that she’s too shy, she’s too much of a mouse, she seems a bit lost, and so forth. But academically she does extremely well and she’s very intelligent. I talked to a few others about her “review” and that put me to rest as it turns out she is actually not that different then other children. 🙂
    She IS just shy, and what’s wrong with that? She does play with others, but she prefers to do her own things and she does them very well.
    The things she loves to do, like her computer work, her art and painting, gluing using scissors and so forth., she exceeds her age in things she likes, and that’s OK too.

    I think the problem with a lot of mainstream is that they just want them to fit in the boxes, and when they can’t tick all the boxes then that is suddenly a problem. Everyone should be “the same”, no one is allowed to be different and I think that they fail to see THE INDEVIDUAL child and that child’s needs.

    I think your doing a great job! She’s FIVE for goodness sakes, she’s just a baby still, developing and exploring all options. x


  8. Merlinda says:

    Like you I am not a pushy mother too and reading this maybe I need to help my son study more at home. the comments here are awesome and I already tweeted Katy about that bingo game. Thanks for posting this cuz I know it will help me too. I going back to see some more comments. #pocolo

  9. I am so torn between wanting to push Dylan as he wants to be pushed, and an inbuilt laziness. I don’t know what is wrong with being ok, they won’t always be top of everything, and ok sounds great to me! As for making maths fun, I have absolutely no idea on that one! x

  10. It is so tricky to get the balance right isn’t it, my eldest is in reception and she is doing really well flying through the reading books and always writing things at home in little books etc but when it comes to homework…. she will read her book every night and although she only has to do it 3 times a week she gets upset if we don’t do it every night. But the other stuff that comes home, the phonics writing etc she really has no time for and we have to force her to sit and do it and go over the dots etc, it looks terrible, I feel ashamed sending that attempt in as I know she didn’t even try and is huge messy letters and I know she can write so much better, there are often tears. I hate putting her through it as I know she can write nicely when she wants to but she has to do her homework. #pocolo

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