Thursday, February 23, 2012

No Sharing? 10:30am Wonder Studio

I think many of us have read or heard somewhere along this parenting journey that babies and toddlers should not be expected to share with others.  I know I believed this for many years!  I thought I was doing the right thing in providing multiples of coveted toys or creating a distraction when a struggle b/t toddlers ensued.

After having my son (2nd child), I began to see things differently... Of course, he would take things from other babies but I made a  tough decision...which was; to see these interactions from his perspective instead of through my adult lens.  By golly, a whole new world opened up for me!

It became obvious to me, that without my intervening in these encounters, he was socializing! 
Let me clarify...
We have all seen one child playing with a toy, anther one comes over and grabs it from him.  Typically, the adult admonishes the taker and returns the toy to the victim.  Sometimes, the taker is offered a distraction with another toy that is almost identical.  The adults are happy, the children seemingly appear content and the children go on their way, SEPARATELY.  Problem solved, and the adult thereby promises that any social interaction has ceased!

Until of course, the taker doesn't want the distraction toy (Even though it is completely identical).  He wants the original.  I have heard so many times from adults..."Honey, this one is the same as that one!"  "Why do you want his?"  "They always want the one they can't have!"
Could we consider that taking toys is nature's way of letting children problem solve and also that it is not about the toy itself but about children wanting to form a relationship with one another?  

Often the victim is not even upset when a toy is taken.  (Of course,then the parent becomes concerned that their child will never stand up for him/her-self ;).  

However, if the adults are quiet..., the children often begin a fun game of give and take.

Ask any parent and they will tell you that the purpose of sending a young child to nursery school or doing any sort of class/play date is TO SOCIALIZE their child...

But so often, we refuse to let them socialize with one another.  Apparently only niceties are allowed.  When an adult judges an encounter to be negative, she rushes in to solve the problem herself.  ( I can't tell you the number of times, I have done this myself!!)
Picture this:
Claire is doing a puzzle...Kyle walks over and take a puzzle piece from her...Adults are nearby, offering support and most importantly TRUST!  
Claire wants to finish the puzzle and is frustrated that Kyle took her piece.  Kyle holds tightly to the puzzle pieces.
Claire seems unsure of what to do.  But the adults WAIT and OBSERVE.
Claire uses her language and says quietly, "Give it back."
Kyle can't hear her, so the adult repeats, "Claire is saying to Kyle, Give it back."
The teacher shows Claire how to hold her hand, palm out, and prompts her to ask in a louder voice, "Can I have a puzzle piece?"
Young children often need a physical sign to indicate wishes.
Kyle then happily proceeds to give all the puzzle pieces back.

Claire has just learned some techniques for indicating her wants, the importance of speaking up, and that she can handle her problems herself.  
Kyle has also been allowed to be in the role of "the giver" instead of the taker.  He has also been trusted to be in a position of power, which is a healthy human need.
It then becomes obvious to nearby adults that the children are not acting with malice but instead trying to make connections, attempting to understand, maybe even create a friendship.
So, I get a lot of funny looks from parents when I say, "Let's practice not sharing."  

Maybe I should phrase it, "Let's practice, NOT JUDGING!" and Let's allow our children to problem solve!

Simply Being Me: 9am Wonder Studio

Who Am I?

I believe strongly in helping children develop strong Intrapersonal Awareness.  Howard Gardner, in his theory of Multiple Intelligences, explains Intrapersonal intelligence as such:

"Intrapersonal intelligence entails the capacity to understand oneself, to appreciate one's feelings, fears and motivations. 
In Howard Gardner's view it involves having an effective working model of ourselves, and to be able to use such information to regulate our lives."

Who Am I?

Who is me?

What makes it possible for me to be?

Am I sweet?  Am I kind?

Do I always have to mind?

Sometimes I cry, I feel sad...

Sometimes I cry, I feel glad...

What does it mean

These thoughts in my head?

It's all OK!, my Mama said.

I always wonder...

I want to understand...

Who Am I?

Who is me?

Is it fine to simply be?

I love this gift of being able to communicate to children that it is ok to simply be.  Children are not here to please us, perform for our friends, or earn the right to be loved.  
The challenge is finding ways to balance this communication with the daily struggles of parenting.

How can we take delight in our children, help them to accept themselves, and do all this by being authentic?

I don't know...
But I know it starts with:


Letting go of our judgement


Making mistakes


and of course...

unconditional LOVE!!

As I look through these photographs, I am pleased to see faces of children simply being themselves.  I can tell because not a one of them is posing for the camera!!!