If you remember nothing else this week (or this month…or year…you get the point), please remember this ONE THING:
Don’t be afraid to let your child make mistakes.
In fact, please allow them to make mistakes. Give them enough space so they have the option of making mistakes. Especially as young toddlers.
They NEED to learn from their mistakes. They NEED to learn that “if at first you don’t succeed, try, try again” is actually a real thing. They NEED to learn that if they mess up the first time, they can try again next time. They NEED to learn how to persist in a task even if they don’t succeed the first, or the second, or the third time. They NEED to learn that if they can’t do something, they can ask for help rather than throwing a tantrum, having someone swoop in to do it for them, or simply giving up.
I have seen far too many little ones who, after being given the chance to engage in trial and error without an adult jumping in at the first sign of difficulty, have made tremendous strides in their cognitive and physical abilities. You should see the way these kiddos light up when they discover they can do something themselves. Could be learning to put on a shirt. Could be figuring out a shape sorter. Could be learning to cut with scissors.
Yes, every child is different and has varying capabilities. But the message is the same: give them a chance to try it by themselves.
So the next time you see your child trying to put a triangle in a round hole (or engaging in some metaphorical equivalent) and you have the urge to jump in and immediately do it for them, hold your horses. Give them a second. Or two. Let them try to put the triangle in the round hole. Encourage them. Point them in the right direction. Give them a chance to look up to you and ask for help. Guide them to the right solution. And then if they need you to ultimately finish it for them, go right ahead. But please don’t deprive them of the process of problem solving and the rich learning experience that only trial and error can bring.
Let them put the triangle in the round hole.
And then see what happens.
I will thank you for it when they are older.