As an adopter you are told time and time again that you need to treat your child according to their emotional age, rather than their chronological age. I’m here to tell you – it’s so true. Our kids chronologically were 3 & 4 when they came, and honestly we were lucky of most days they were 2. This meant we made some tough decisions, like keeping them back from Nursery more than others their age, so that we (mostly me after my husband’s Paternity/Adoption leave ended) could spend more time revisiting activities they should have done, and so far hadn’t experienced! Below are a list of a few toys and activities that really helped our kids go back and experience things.
Touch and Feel books. My kids were utterly fascinated with these when they first came. They also loved anything Julia Donaldson and you can even get the Gruffalo in touch and feel book so the best of both worlds! Also the flaps and searching objects helped to develop their focus and their dexterity a bit more.
My kids were far behind their age group with emotional development, but also cognitive development and didn’t know even their alphabet, or numbers etc. So we started at the beginning with wooden alphabet puzzles and we would sing the alphabet song as we put the letters in!
As they got to grip with the letters, to help them recognise them even more, I would hide two behind my back and they would then pick a letter and get the kids to try to think of a word that began with that letter. Then we developed into the full alphabet game, where we would take turns sounding a letter, then saying the letter and then a word that began with that letter, and then the next person would also have to think of a word with that letter! Within 6 months both kids were confidently recognising letters, and starting to pull together sound patterns. This meant when our eldest had to go to school in he was much closer to his peers than he would have been.
The first couple of Christmas’s they asked for very age inappropriate gifts (for their chronological age) and we just went with it! They very soon grew out of the toys as their emotional age started catch up to their chronological age!
Don’t be afraid if you’re 5 year old wants a dummy (or a baby toy), it’s a good sign, they are trusting you to look after them and fulfil their needs. Whilst you may need to manage where/when the dummy, or baby toy is used (as in perhaps not when their school friends are round!) take it as a comfort, they are letting you go back and fill in the gaps! The attachment is coming!!