“Just let me do it…..”

  Life can be busy, we all know that. I used to think the same when I was single, I never seemed to stop. Now, with two children and a house to run, things only seem to be getting busier. The difference is, whatever needed doing when I lived alone got done by me, now however, there are four of us ‘doing’ and sometimes it can be hard to let that happen. I’m not a control-freak, (not quite!) but sometimes, especially with children, it can be easier and most certainly quicker to do everything yourself. The morning rush when we need to be somewhere is most definitely not the time to be encouraging independent dressing, not yet anyway. And out and about in places such as busy supermarkets is equally the wrong time and place to be patiently watching them learn new skills. Or is it? How much of our so-called ‘busyness’ is actually taking priority over little achievements for our children? I took my two-year-old swimming the other day and it was while we were getting changed afterwards that I noticed my need to rush, my instinctive need to do everything for her so we could get out as soon as possible. I honestly don’t know why I do it. We didn’t have to be anywhere and nobody was waiting for us. We had got dressed and I was ready to put our coats on. My little girl had been drawing and had a small pen in her hand and as I held her coat open my immediate reaction was to take the pen from her hand and put her arm in her sleeve. Why is this so automatic? If I carry on doing everything, how will she ever learn? Yes, I realise there are times when we really are on a schedule and it may be necessary, but this wasn’t one of those times. I stopped myself. Instead, I held her coat open and asked her to put it on; and then I stepped back and watched. I watched her realise, by herself, that her hands were too full for the task. I watched her look into her little hands and think. Then I saw her place the lid from one hand onto the pen in the other hand (it took a few attempts but she did it) and put it down on the bench, ready to put her arm in her coat. The whole process took around twenty seconds!! Even if I had been in a hurry, I am certain that twenty seconds wouldn’t have made a huge difference. That small amount of time would have meant nothing in the frantic panic of getting children ready, but it meant a great deal to my daughter. She had stopped and realised something was wrong, she had figured out what it was, she then exercised newly found skills by putting one small object onto another and finally she had emptied her hands in order to obediently do what was asked of her. All that learning and all that achievement would never have happened if I’d done it for her. I know that as a mother of two it’s going to happen again. I know there will be many times in the future when I’ll do things for my children because we’re in a hurry. Sometimes it will be quicker and easier, sometimes not. However, I am aware of it now. I am aware that the smallest things we do for our babies might sometimes be able to be completed by them. I know that little victories will not only enhance their learning but build up their self-esteem. In each day’s rush, in every hastened exit from home or quick job that needs finishing, I am going to try my best to not ‘just do, because it’s easier’. Children are hard work and many, many times they are certainly not helpful in anyway, but look and see how beautiful it can be when we stop and let them try. My daughter made me so proud after swimming that day. I most definitely want to feel that way more often.

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