Should Children Use REAL Tools?

Should Children Use REAL Tools? – How to Survive Normal Childhood Curiosity (without saying “No”!)  “Risk is the “flypaper” of the Gods. Most flies see the other flies stuck to the flypaper but they still land on it. In like fashion, human beings need to experience things to better understand them.”    ~ Mark Olson Should you allow your 3 y/o to use a real screwdriver? A child’s curiosity is not limited to “safe” play. They are innately curious in all things. As a parent we need not have much experience to discover that children will often do the exact polar opposite of what we want, especially with “dangerous things”. But we want our children to be interested in the world around them, don’t we?  So how do we allow them to experiment and experience the world and still maintain our sanity? To start with, we must take our children’s curiosity seriously. It is an integral part of being human. It is an integral part of living a full, interesting life; which is what we want for our children, right?  But when you have just averted disaster for the second time in an afternoon you may know it is a gift but it sure feels like a curse. Just saying “No” does not work. So how do we find the balance between encouraging interest and providing an acceptable level of safety? Watch your children and identify the “dangerous thing” they are curious about.  Get down to their level and ask them what it is about it they are attracted to.  Tell them that you understand their curiosity, that it is normal and healthy, and that you are excited to see that they are an interesting, interested person.  Tell them that the “dangerous thing” is not for them to play with but that you will set aside time to use it with them.  However, if they touch it without permission then they will loose all privileges. The critical steps are: Listen, acknowledge their interest, set boundaries and allow them to experience the “dangerous thing” under adult supervision. This removes the desire for your child to sneak, and encourages them to come ask your permission.  They get what they want; access, excitement and attention, and you get what you want; child development, safety and peace of mind. The fascinating thing about this is that you are now able to actively encourage your...
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Happy Holiday Gift Giving

    The holiday season is usually very overwhelming and stressful for children; different    rules/boundaries, large gatherings of people involving friends and/or family, and an  overload of visual and or auditory stimulus are a few of the primary culprits.  Parents need  to be tuned in to their children so they can slow down activities, provide for quite time and  or space, and establish a safe emotional environment with clear boundaries and  communication that shows the child their feelings matter.  Establishing traditions that the  children can look forward to can go a long way towards giving the children a sense of  anticipation as well as grounding them during this stressful and hectic time. The “elephant” in the room at Christmas that appears to causes the most stress, worry, and challenges for parents are presents.  Do I give gifts or not?  How much should I spend?   How do I deal with social expectations and pressures?  How many presents can I give before I cause my children to become greedy?  Why are my kids so ungrateful or selfish?  I am so tired of the meltdowns; why is Christmas morning so stressful?  Below are some ideas that over the years I have found to be very successful.   Table of Contents 1. Social Pressures – Presents Giving thoughtful and interesting gifts is a great way to help your children see themselves as individuals with individual interests, talents and tastes. 2. Budget – Children Do Not Understand Cost Young children do not understand the concept of cost. 3. Presents – Equal Numbers Matter From your child’s point of view, equal numbers of gifts appears to mean equally loved. 4. Create Christmas Traditions With Your Children Christmas morning, for all the anticipated joy, can easily and rapidly collapse into tears unless parents establish some type of guidelines. 5. Gift Opening Adventure Opening gifts in a mad free-for-all can be too emotionally overwhelming for children. 6. How to Deal With Numbers of Gifts Children need enough presents to unwrap; this can be accomplished by individually wrapping items that came together in one box. 7. My Kids Won’t Share Their New Toys Children’s brains are not developed enough to be able to share, especially during stressful times as seen during the holiday season. 8. How To Handle Meltdowns Children are not little adults – Stop, then listen. Closing Thoughts   1. Social Pressures – Presents Return...
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