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Why does my child detest writing?

Q: My son is 3 years and nine months old. He is very active and energetic. He has been to a play school and now for the past 3 weeks, he is going to a school he does not show any resent. They have started giving him writing from the very first day of school. He knows how to write alphabets but says that he is willing to do orals but not write. When I take his book he starts crying but after coaxing he starts studying. Is this normal; its only been 3 weeks since he has gone to school. He started speaking a little late and developed asthma. My mother tongue is English and his father's is Tamil. He can speak in both languages fluently. Is this normal development?

A:Your child is not just normal, he seems exceptionally bright. Being familiar with two languages in a bilingual family is to be expected. It is great that he can speak both languages fluently. Three year olds should not be given writing work to do. But the school is giving it, very unwisely, in my view and you are in the hands of the school, with very little choice, it appears. If there is a Play school which allows them to learn through play and introduces writing a year later, it would be ideal. You could then consider a change of school. Get his asthma checked and find out what causes its flaring up. In some cases, anxiety can aggravate it. Sleeping in the afternoon is necessary at this age. Perhaps, if you make sure he goes to sleep early, after the evening meal, the afternoon nap can be cut down by an hour to two hours. But there are no strict rules or formula solutions. Be sensitive to the child's moods, abilities and interests and he will thank you for it. Above all focus on his happiness rather than on his achievements and express your love and warmth verbally and through action.

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