I’m not going to help you play. If you want to do it, you will have to do it yourself. This is something I say often to my almost 2-year-old.
I’ve had this belief right from the beginning. If she wants to do something like climb a chair or the stairs, she needs to do it without my help. I am always around, ready to catch her when she falls. Even then I hesitate a little to see if she can catch herself. So why do I do this, and why do I think you should be doing this too.
They need to learn to do things without your help, especially play. This is to learn confidence in their own abilities. If we are constantly holding them when they are climbing up a climbing frame, they don’t learn to climb properly. They always rely on you to be there. Whether or not you are there. This can be quite dangerous, especially for little ones who like to wander around. For instance, opportunity if we were to help our little ones walk up and down the stairs. Then one day you are not around and they have the opportunity to go up or down the stairs. They’ve never done this before by themselves, but from experience, when you were there, they could. Now they believe they can. So they take the first step, just like they have done countless times when you have helped them. They fall, not realising that they needed your hand to hold them.
You have a better idea of their abilities. When my little one climbs the climbing frames, I know exactly the places that she needs help, and by help, I mean, for me to be there ready to catch her while she attempts to climb. I don’t hold on to her or touch her, but I’m ready to catch her. I can look at something and know if I can leave her to explore it or if she will need some help.
It can get tiring when they keep needing your help. For instance, walking up the stairs to go down the slide on a climbing frame. How many times do you think they will go down the slide. My little one loves it, and I can watch her go up and down so many times, she loves it. If I had to help her every time up the stairs, I would start to get really frustrated and tired. I would want to leave sooner than usual, and she would get annoyed. Life just gets harder when you help them do something they are capable of doing by themselves. As parents, we are constantly busy with a lot of things.
They can do it if you just give them a chance. One of the biggest things I see, many parents do not give their little ones a chance to do things. Little ones need the chance to try, try and try again. If you start helping them at their first try, they will never learn the ability to do things independently. I’m not saying it is easy. It’s the hardest thing watching your little one trying so hard and not accomplishing it. If you just stick it out, you will see the amazement on their faces when they have accomplished something by themselves. It takes away all the heartache of watching them failing, and makes it absolutely worth it!
This is the same for tummy time, sitting and walking. Just don’t help them do it. When their body is able to do it, they can’t stop themselves. As your baby grows, they learn to use different muscles. this helps give them the ability to move around. So putting a baby on their tummy, when they don’t have the muscle strength to enjoy this, can be very scary for them. When your baby learns to roll over, this means your baby is learning the skills needed to be on the tummy. Same goes for sitting. When your baby is ready to sit, they will. Helping them sit will only stop them from gaining muscle strength and ability to sit when their body is ready. So, if you are helping them sit and they keep falling over, then they are not ready to sit and you are hindering their progress.
Having simple but great toys to play with can get their imagination flowing, things like Grimm’s toys are very useful for toys that are conducive to independent play.
Give yourself a break, your little ones are doing exactly what they need to at that moment. Helping them along helps no one. You will just get tired and annoyed.
Do you think there should be a gender divide in children? See my post here about it
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