Guest Blog by Luana Thomas, Founder of getoffmyback.co.uk
As their parents, of course they need to be looked after, but are we really untrusting of their capabilities? Can they not drink from an open cup by themselves? (Or do we not let them do it because let’s face it, it’ll be a mess that we will need to clean up).
My mother and my sister were shocked when I let my 19 month old drink from an open cup by herself. “She might drown” they exclaimed. The horror on their faces said it all. I was the only one who trusted her to do so. And she did, she politely drank all by herself without spilling or dropping it.
So I question, do we do too much for our toddlers? Are they really too young to contribute or even help around the house? The reality is we are afraid of mess. Afraid of errors. Obsessed with perfection. Our adult perspective gets in the way of letting our toddlers learn freely, to grow independent, to feel heard and to be part. I don’t want my convenience to stop opening up a world of independence and freedom. It’s funny we long for them to be less dependent when they are babies. But when they can be more independent we don’t let them (maybe we don’t want them to grow up. Maybe we don’t want them to not need us). We interrupt and do things for them. Because it’ll be faster. It’ll be tidier. It’ll be cleaner.
We know that practice makes perfect. Yet we moan and complain for them not getting right straight away. How can we make such expectations if they don’t get the opportunity to practice it beforehand? Why do we expect them to behave in a way adults do?
It’s time to put our adult perspective and expectations out of the way. Raising a human comes with mess, errors and lots of mistakes. That’s ok.
I want to teach my daughter that we are not perfect and that’s ok because the most important lesson is to be able to do something when something does go wrong. It’s important to try again. To not give up easily.
Having started to trust my daughter with more than I ever realised possible for someone so young I have been blown away by the results. She can wipe up spills, hand clothes from the wash basket, take items from the dishwasher out and hand them over to me. All of those things took a bit of time and practice. Before I knew she could drink from a cup unaided, she spilt it over and over again at home, which was part of the learning. It took a lot of pouring games and practice before she mastered that skill. I’m not saying she puts all the clothes into the washing machine, or that she empties the entire dishwasher. Of course not.
There is only so much she can do before she gets bored and wants to do something else. But what I didn’t realise was that those boring things are interesting to them. So it’s up to us to let them do them. It’s up to us to realise that “they don’t need a boss or a servant” – Simone Davis, The Montessori Toddler. They just want to be heard, they want to do their part, they want to contribute. In fact they love to be included in day to day activities. The satisfaction you’ll see in them and pride you’ll see on yourself is worth way more than any mess they can ever make.
About the author:
Luana Thomas is the founder of www.getoffmyback.co.uk a platform to help mums-to-be to reduce anxieties and fears about birth. To try and add towards a positive birth experience, that all women deserve. She loves all things pregnancy, labour, birth and motherhood.
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