“Let us see what Squirt does flying solo.” ~ Crush, Finding Nemo
As I watched my baby boy play at a local indoor play center, I saw him go from play area to play area having fun and exploring. While playing in the kitchen and food area, the toy shopping cart he was attempting to push while also holding a toy shopping basket, fell. I sat and watched him try to pick the shopping cart back up from the floor with his one free hand. I thought about going over there to help him out, but then figured I’d take the opportunity to let him figure it out on his own.
Source: Lisa Sexton/Flickr
I may have seemed like an otherwise distracted mom or maybe even a mean mom for not helping him and letting him struggle instead, but I knew that what I was doing was actually going to be a good thing for him. It took him a few tries of awkwardly holding the basket in one hand and unsuccessfully trying to pick up the shopping cart with the other, but he eventually figured out what had to be done. He proceeded to put the basket down, picked up the shopping cart, then picked the basket back up. Voila! My 2-year-old was able to resolve the problem on his own without the help of his mother.
I was so proud of him and honestly, proud of myself for restraining that motherly instinct of rushing over to “save” him. It took some effort, but I’m glad I followed through and just observed him. In just that short instance, my toddler learned some problem-solving skills, and did not have to depend on someone else to “fix” the issue for him. I can’t think of a better lesson I could have given him that day.