We love the visualization of a butterfly emerging from its cocoon. The butterfly can’t have help becoming free since the struggle and difficulty the butterfly has helps its wings to become stronger. This image can be compared to that of your child. As a parent, you want to help your child every step of the way to make things easier and to keep them safe but over-protecting your child and helping your child too much will cause your child’s wings to be too weak to fly.
It’s important to allow your children the opportunity to try certain things for themselves without being told how to do them. Creative discovery allows your child to try (and possibly fail) until they learn how to do certain things themselves. When a parent tries to correct his or her child’s every move, the child may become too dependent and feel that they can’t figure something out for his or herself without approval from one or both parents. To prevent this from happening, there are certain things you as a parent can be aware of as your child grows, discovers, and learns.
Your Child’s Age & Developmental Stage
Babies and toddlers need great supervision and attention since they are completely dependent on their parents for safety, food, baths, diaper changes, etc. But when a child becomes preschool age, typically around 4 years old, they can try certain things out for themselves in a safe environment without too much direction from a parent. For example, if you are crafting or painting with your child, allow them the opportunity to paint or color outside the lines, make a mess with glitter outside the glue areas, or simply paint freely and with little direction on the paper. Allowing your child to be creative and free is an amazing way for your child to feel more independent and confident.
Knowing the Difference between Danger and Minimal Risk
Danger would be leaving your young child unattended in a bathtub or pool so of course supervision is needed then! But letting your child jump through rain or mud puddles is minimal risk and allows your child to have fun, feel free, enjoy nature, all while getting a bit wet and maybe muddy – but it’s such fun for them! Fun, messy play time is wonderful to feed a child’s creative spirit – so let them play messily!
It’s Okay to Try, Fail, and Try Again
Whether learning how to play a new sport, try a new game, put together a new puzzle, or help set the table for dinner, allow your child an opportunity to mess up and have to try again. If you try too hard to “perfect” his or her skills, your child may become discouraged and give up. Trying over and over is okay…without telling him or her how to do this or that. Unless your child asks for help, let them discover.
Remain calm, loving, and supportive as your child learns to spread his wings and fly. If your child gets a minor scrape or bruise while playing a new sport or game, love them tenderly then encourage them to try again. If your child needs some alone time, respect his or her time. Let your child make a fun concoction in the kitchen by setting him or her up with different ingredients and letting him or her whip up something fun in a bowl (without dangerous utensils and appliances). Exploration and discovery is such a beautiful journey for children and in it, they will strengthen their wings to one day fly.