“I want to play a puzzle” he announced.
“Ok” I said… “but pack up the playdough first.”
He rolled his eyes and huffed and puffed (he might be only three but he has learned well from his older siblings) but he went off and began to put the playdough back into the box.
I watched him through the door way as he tried to get the playdough he had crammed into the ice block tray out again.
He turned the tray over and bashed it on the table a few times…
“Oh!” he said as he saw that it was still stuffed full of play dough.
He bashed it harder… still no luck.
He bashed it a few more times then gave up, chucking it down on the table with a sigh.
I thought he was going to get upset, or just walk away and leave it as he climbed down from the chair and left the table. I was about to tell him to go back and pack up when I heard him open the kitchen drawer. Now I was sure he was up to no good. The assumption was not totally unfair since just yesterday I had discovered him and the floor covered in yogurt after a kitchen adventure got out of hand, but something made me stop and listen a bit longer.
I heard the drawer slam shut and footsteps heading back to the table. I saw him climb back onto the chair and then he produced a spoon and proceeded to use the spoon to dig the playdough out of the ice block tray and put it away. I watched him grunt and groan and work hard, and I heard a little “yay!” when it was all done.
I smiled as I watched him… left to his own devices, without me jumping to conclusions and stepping in, he had figure out his own way of dealing with his problem.
He beamed as he brought me the container of play dough
“I’m done Mum!…. can I have a puzzle now?”
“Sure” I said and as he wandered off I thought of how much this little moment had taught us both.
Noah learned that he can solve his own problems. He can come up with solutions and try them out. He is capable, smart and strong.
I learned to be patient and not to assume. I learned to give my children a chance, have faith, let them figure it out for themselves and the rewards will be many.
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Lynda - all about mama says
Love this post Kate! I’m often too quick to jump in and offer solutions for my kids without letting them sort things out themselves. Kids are often far more capable than we give them credit for :-)
What a sweet post. I’ve had moments like this when I’m amazed what they will do on their own without prompting… and yet I still sometimes jump in before they are done. Thanks for the reminder :-)
It can be so hard to remember!
I think I find it especially hard with this as he is my smallest and in my mind he can’t possibly be old enough to figure it out for himself because he is my baby! LOL
Yes! I have seen this over and over again with my 4 year old. This is one of my main parenting mantras.
so good! I love it when kids figure things out for themselves, you see their confidence rise!
Yeah, my 3 year old would just scream and have a tantrum.
She is just starting to try and work things out for herself.
But as soon as it gets too hard, she gives up.
My three year old does that often too… in fact most of the time! But sometimes, when I give him a chance, he figures it out… and I hope that means that next time when he tries and fails he might be more likely to try again?
I hope so too! I think she tries more at 3-year-old kindy… maybe there’s less fuel for emotional outbursts there! i.e. ‘Cause I’m not around! :D
Maybe she just feels safe to let those big emotions out at home because she knows you will love her no matter what. :)
Three can be hard sometimes!
Aw, thanks. That’s a nice way to think of it. :)
She’ll be 4 in a couple of months…. this too shall pass!
Meanwhile I shall focus on the good things! :)
I love your attitude!! Such a positive mum who is bringing up her kids to be independent! Good on you! :-)
Amanda @NotJustCute says
I loved reading this! Just today, I did the same, as I watched my 4 year-old take the diaper pail to the outside trash. Throwing things in the trash bin is not much of a problem for him, but emptying something that he has to hold on to provided a bit more for him to navigate. I watched from a window as he struggled —and succeeded— and I think we were both smiling with pride by the end!
Don’t you just love that proud smile that grows on their faces when they manage something tricky? It’s contagious as I am sure we Mums sprout the exact same smiles!
Kirsten McCulloch says
Fantastic post Kate (and yes, I shared it :). Sometimes it’s hard to not run in and a) fix it or b) assume they are about to do something Bad, isn’t it?
I really struggle with this with my 7 year old (yes, the 7 year old, not the 3 year old). She has always, since she was six months old, been one to scream instead of figuring things out. And when she was 6 months old, of course we just laughed and did it for her. Which was not a good lesson for her I think, and we are all now paying the price. I really need to work on some ways to help her be resilient when things don’t work the first time, but it is hard!