Struggles are positive

One of the things we do with him is when he’s standing up and holding onto the coffee table while a few play objects, such as a finger puppet, a ball or a little box are within arm’s reach. And very often, he’ll swipe at these toys and they’ll end up on the ground. I quickly grab the toy that fell and place it right in front of him again.

Can you pinpoint the mistake?

I realize that I should probably let the toy remain on the ground and give him the opportunity to 1) realize that the toy is on the ground, and 2) grab it and bring it back up with him (or choose to stay seated). I forget that play isn’t just entertainment for babies and kids; it’s the way they learn and wire their brains. How cool it must feel to come upon discovery after discovery that you made all on your own! That’s what I want to give him, rather than merely avoiding tears or “boredom” by presenting him with the toys.

I notice that when I step back and let him get frustrated or confused, his reactions are so much more joyous when he figures out how to solve the problem. All of a sudden, struggles aren’t equated with negativity. Not if you use them to learn something new.

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