Friday, April 3, 2015

Resisting the Urge to Intervene

In my many years of working with and being around children, I’ve noticed that one of my greatest struggles is knowing when to step back and let the children control their own situations and environment. It is natural for an adult to assume that they know what is best for the children around them, and that can make it difficult to allow them to solve their own problems. 

The issue of sharing causes many disputes among children and during a struggle it is very natural for an adult to want to step in and “fix it.” When this is happening, an important thing to remember is to simply pause. As long as safety is not an issue, allowing children the freedom to solve their own problems can often result in a much better outcome than if an adult were to intervene. When children are trusted to make their own decisions, confidence is built.

C practices taking off her shoes by herself.

It can be difficult to stand back and watch children put on their own shoes or dress themselves. As adults, we are used to getting these types of tasks done quickly, and watching a child struggle to put shoes on can be very frustrating. During times like these, it is important to remember that the more a child works at something, the more skilled he or she will become at it.  If these simple tasks are done for them they will become dependent on an adult being there and might not want to try it themselves. 

H learns to maintain her balance on the teeter totter.

As children grow, their bodies become more agile and coordinated, but allowing them the practice that they need in order to become more confident in their own bodies can often be scary. It’s very easy to carry a child up a staircase or to the top of a slide rather than letting them navigate through their own environments, but a child who has learned how to climb to the top of a play structure will also know how to get back down and feel more confident in doing so. 

Although children are very small and adorable creatures, they are much more capable than we often believe. Trusting that children have the ability within reason to make wise decisions for themselves allows for a more confident and competent child.

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