Spring is finally—slowly—arriving to East Tennessee, and most moms and kids alike are glad to see it. Instead of being stuck inside all day nearly every day, it’s finally possible to get out and play. Instead of bundling up from the moment you wake up until the moment you go to bed, you can wear flip flops and t-shirts, run around the house barefoot, and not have to worry too much about it. Outside, everything is beautiful as flowers start to bloom—and it’s more likely than not that your toddler is also discovering the beauty of the flowers.
Your first instinct is to lunge for them, preventing them from picking anything more than a weed. After all, once they’re out of the ground, they can’t go back; and it’s impossible to enjoy flowers that have withered and died because they’re no longer growing and no longer in water.
But what if you didn’t?
What if you let your child wear the flowers?
Boy or girl—at toddler age, it doesn’t matter—your child will enjoy the opportunity to pick them, handle them, arrange their hair around them. Girls, in particular, may like to try several different hair styles or even several different colors of flowers, each time asking whether or not they’re pretty. Why not let them have a little fun—and then join in yourself?
What if you let your young child play with the flowers?
Your instinct is not to hand a very young child anything delicate—but if you’re in close attendance, there’s nothing wrong with allowing even an infant to feel the texture, rub their fingers and their faces all over the flower, and even breathe in the scent (as long as allergies are not a concern).
What if you let your child handle the flowers?
Sure, their grubby, rough little hands will likely tear the flowers, and crush them, and in general destroy them—but how much fun will they have doing it? How much enjoyment will they attain from those few minutes of flower play—and why is it worth so much to prevent it?
What if you encouraged your child to arrange the flowers?
What if they touched them, arranged them, looked at how they look best together? What if they played with them and rearranged them? What if they enjoyed playing with them, instead of just picking them and running off again?
What if you let them explore?
For children, playing is learning. Exploring is learning. The more interest they take in their world, the more they are going to discover about it. So instead of shouting, “No, no, no! Don’t pick Mommy’s pretty flowers!” consider letting them delight in them. Play with them. Enjoy them. After all, isn’t that what flowers are for?