Picture this—the early morning rush of your household and your seven year old is about to pour some milk into a glass. You have this horrible mental image of your child being overwhelmed by the milk jug and spilling the milk all over the table and floor, the glass crashing down. You are ignoring the fact that the milk jug is half a gallon and the glass is plastic, so there isn’t any eminent danger. So not to have this premonition come to pass, you grab the plastic container and pour the milk for your child. At the time, you think you’re doing what’s best —after all, you have prevented a possible milk tragedy. However, you can’t shake the feeling that this was a missed opportunity for your child to have a chance to be independent.
What steps can you take not to do this again? It will involve changing your thought patterns. Instead of thinking of only the present, try to imagine the pieces that go towards the future. At this moment, your child is seven years old, but she will not be seven forever. She is getting older every day. Instead of looking with regret that time moves so quickly, use learning opportunities to add to her maturity.
It is difficult to shift your way of doing things. Ever since your child was born, you have been doing everything for them. Now it has become a habit and in a way, a convenience. It is quicker for you to pour the milk than to painstakingly watch your child negotiate the intricacies of the vessel and the liquid. Patience needs to be applied at these opportune moments.
As the example of the pouring of milk, try not to expect perfection every time. With the age appropriate aids, she will have a chance. Of Course, there will be times she will spill the liquid, but it will be a minor inconvenience. Better still, another learning opportunity to clean up after herself is built right in.
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