What I keep learning from Too Small to Fail

Over the past few months I worked with Go Mighty as part of the Too Small to Fail initiative. Along with a whole bunch of smart people, we’re working to close The Word Gap that affects far too many young children by taking little steps that have a big impact.

So what did I do to help close the Word Gap in my house?

A few months ago, I wrote about my intention to join the #gomighty4kids challenge and attempt six personal goals on the path toward reading, talking, and singing more with my children.

Though the resulting cooking project was inedible and my children didn’t become the instant Beatles fans I had hoped for, we had a very good time together. And we talked. A lot.

And that is the magic: just by talking to your children, you are helping build their brains and vocabularies. 

I documented my efforts on the gomighty.com site:

  1. Telling stories about the grandfather they’ve never met (my favorite)
  2. A toddler date to Habitot, my local children’s museum
  3. Reading to my cross-country nephew via a youtube video you can share with your own kids
  4. The magic of a Christmas book with accompanying train ride
  5. Experiments in baking pie from scratch
  6. Singing a Beatles song together, phase 1

What did some other awesome people do?

Several other people joined in the goal-setting and here are few of my favorites:

  • Heather Spohr contacted publishing houses to donate books for babies in the NICU.
  • Stacey Ferguson set up a cozy reading nook to further her children’s interest.
  • Maggie Mason resolved to up her parenting game in 2014 with simple actions.
  • Morgan Shanahan did a cooking project with her four year-old and plans to do it weekly.

These are all doable once you prioritize and make the time, right? To find more more more ideas and inspiration, see the #gomighty4kids tag over on gomighty.com or search for it on twitter.

And what can we all keep doing?

Throw down your good intentions and make a plan to talk more with your children. With a small baby, it is so easy to narrate your day or read a book together. Already bored by Goodnight Moon? Here are some tips to get more out of the experience. Just do it.

For busy toddlers and preschoolers, the library is a nearly endless source of new material. Learn about building houses, fancy dresses, or sharks, searching for new material as your child’s interests change. Look for what is happening on each page and predict what might happen next. Sawyer is constantly impressing me with his powers of observation. He will notice that the bicycle bell or teddy bear was on the previous page but disappeared. I love it.

My participation in the program is part of the Too Small to Fail initiative, sponsored by Next Generation and the Clinton Foundation, who are working to close the Word Gap, and Go Mighty is on board. More info here. I was super proud to participate.

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