New parents often hear others say their children are growing by "leaps and bound". This trite saying serves to remind parents their children are growing quickly in stature. Infrequently are people referring to a child's mental acuity with this phrase. However, if you have spent much time in parenting forums, you have no doubt heard the term "leap". This refers to a jump in skills. In infancy, we have references to "wonder weeks". There is a book, an app, and a website dedicated to the theory of infants experiencing physical and mental growth at fairly static intervals. These are tracked, and parents can input their own data to predict the next wonder week for their little bundle. Tricky bit is that these leaps don't stop once infancy concludes. Kids continue to leap through phases of development into adulthood. In our own home, we have noticed that ages three, six, nine, and twelve are rife with massive jumps in ability and confidence. Most parents fear age two due to the bad rap it gets from older generations. "Terrible Twos", though is a misnomer. Two is sweet and docile compared to three! Six is another stage during which we have considered running for the hills. Nine comes full force with hormones raging for preteen development. And twelve has reared its ugly pre-pubescent head several times in the last year. I could go into detail about each age, but that would speak only to my crew. I will expand the characteristics of the stages though. We found our kids far less able to regulate emotions and responses during their leaps. They were more likely to blow up at the slightest challenge too. Mack always struggles more to control his body during a leap. Will has far more tired times, and meltdowns. Rory is nearing teenagedom, so she is riding the hormonal rollercoaster. As a younger child, Rory dug her heels in more when approaching a leap. Or, she presented with more anxiety. Either of those adjustments meant she was on the way to something big. Kae is just past the three stage. She conquered some big milestones, but also met with my return to work. I am not sure what part of her anxiety is due to my working or due to her own leaps. When you find yourself facing a child who cannot remember to use the bathroom. Or who can't dress easily. Or who simply must remain up-side-down all day. You may be seeing a child who is figuring out reading. Or addition. Or leaping emotionally. Regardless of what your child is preparing for, know they are not being annoying to annoy you. Know they are focused on one thing so hard they cannot handle the other parts of their brains. It is our job then to help them regulate so that tough mountain can be summitted. Come along with your child and help them climb. Be their cheer leader. You can do this and so can they!
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