Sorting Colours

Have you ever searched Pinterest for educational toy ideas? You know, the DIY ones that are “so easy” to make, and are guaranteed to entertain your child for hours? I have. And I’ve saved them all. I’ve even made a few, including my beloved Quiet Book, which truth be told, does not see nearly as much action as I thought it would. But, lately, I’ve started to have a shift in my thinking: What if kids learn things, even if we don’t sit down and formally teach them? What if their natural curiosity will lead them to learn the things they want to, and they’ll enjoy doing it all on their own? What if I stood back, and guided when needed, as opposed to creating more work for myself, and stressing myself out that she should be learning “this”? Or be able to recite “that”? Well, this morning, I was reassured that she will “get it” when she’s ready, and without all my Pinterest projects to help her along. Meet the Paw Patrol!

Have you seen the show? We like it in our house. Ryder (a boy who loves to help people) and his team of pups (are you singing the song yet?) are here to save the day! My beloved husband bought a set of 6 action figures (the pups) for our daughter last week. We have tried VERY hard not to go overboard on branded toys, but these cute, small figures were too hard to resist.

This morning I was getting ready for the day, and came across Little Miss playing with her figures and her rings, the ones from the classic Fisher Price toy that go on a yellow cone. She had put the pups in their own life savers (I think that’s what she was playing) based on their colour. Rocky in green (Green Means Go!), Rubble in yellow, etc. She wasn’t taking yellow pom poms, and putting them in the yellow container while I coached her. She was doing this all on her own. Naturally she dismantled it all just as I was about to take a picture, but I’m sure you get the idea 😉

But surely, Liz, it was a one off, no? Nope. She then proceeded to the kitchen where she wanted to give them all water, and a bath. My hubby reported this back to me at the end of the day, when he came home before me to a puddle of water and cups all over the floor (I was in a rush!).

Again, the pups were all designated their own bath and water bowl based on their colour. Can you guess what colour cup Skye got?

They’ll do it. And you know what, does it really matter in the long run if your child never puts the red bead on the red string? Probably not. But, if they do, they’ll enjoy it more if they do it in their time, based on their own curiosity, not ours.

Blessings,

Liz

A Hairy Situation

A few years ago, I was swimming at a public pool, long before I had children. I had just gotten out of the pool, along with all the other patrons, and I was in the change room. A gaggle of girls were also getting changed, around the age of 7 or 8 years old. I believe it was a birthday party.

In any case, after the girls were dressed, one of the girls started brushing her hair. No biggie, right? Well, apparently it was. Did you know that if you brush just the ends of your hair (you know, when you’re trying to get a knot out of your hair), that it can damage your hair and cause split ends? Well, I learned that little tidbit that day, and so did everyone else in the change room. This girl’s mom started yelling at her, explaining what she was doing wrong – in front of all her friends. She then proceeded to take the brush from her, and do it for her.

What caused me to remember this scene, nearly 10 years later? I was embarrassed and sad for her daughter. We try our very best to practice peaceful, respectful parenting. This one instance (maybe the mom was having an off day?) is one of the reasons why. I felt so bad that she was chastised in front of her friends, for such a silly, insignificant reason.

I want my daughters to have autonomy over their bodies. It’s our job to guide them. Sure, she could have calmly and quietly explained to her daughter why she should brush from the top down, but to demean her, then do it for her, stripped her of her autonomy, in that situation.

It is not uncommon for Little Miss to be walking around in a dress regardless of the weather. I encourage her to wear long sleeves and pants underneath in the winter. Today, a chilly, rainy day, she didn’t want to wear pants.  I asked her if she wanted to check to see how cold it was, and once she had done that, she changed her mind. But I let her choose.

Giving them autonomy over their bodies means that if someone tries to coerce them to do something they don’t want to, they will be more comfortable speaking up, and saying no. It also helps them understand why we dress a certain way for various climates, and helps them in their decision making process, allowing them to become more confident.

Blessings,

Liz

P.S. Here is a photo of Little Miss with her first French braids 🙂 They were, of course, at her request 😉

Learning To Line Up

Do we need school to learn basic courtesies? Sitting still? Lining up? Taking turns? When I asked a friend what her child learned in Kindergarten, that was it. Basic courtesies. Here in Ontario, our Kindergarten program is a full day of play-based learning. But, would my children (we have 2 daughters now!) not know how to politely interact with other children without being formally taught? Nope!

We had a wonderful opportunity to join in with a Forest Playgroup back in September. It was their inaugural meeting, and we had never met any of these families before. There were about 15 families and their children. My daughter was just over 2 and a half. And you know what? They lined up. Without any adult interference or interruption! Can you believe it?

Let me set the scene for you. There we are, enjoying a pot luck snack, getting to know one another. A couple of children find a log lying on the ground, and they begin to use it like a balance beam. Well, this, naturally, catches the attention of some of the other children (including my own), and they start practicing their balancing techniques. It was a little disorderly until a fantastic, spunky, young five year old encouraged them to line up. And they did it! No fuss, no muss. They obliged, everyone got a turn (multiple, actually), and they had fun. All without an adult interrupting their process. It was beautiful.

They can do it. They are completely capable of learning from, and respecting, one another. And they don’t need us to “teach” them. Stand back, and watch, because amazing things unfold.

Blessings,

Liz

P.S. They also fell off the log, got back up, and tried again. Some really got the hang of it this time, and some gained skills for their go at it. No one got hurt, as they trusted their expertise and weren’t pushed, nor dissuaded.  They just got to be kids.