This morning I was working at my computer in my basement office. It just so happens that the office doubles as a play area for the kids. My youngest daughter was playing with her toys in the nook that we setup for them.
I was busy working away on some new material for parent training. I see my daughter walk up to me quietly and stand beside me patiently. I turn to her and say, “Yes sweetie – do you need something?”
She extends her arms to show me a little toy baby carriage that she’s holding. It’s in two pieces. The cover to the baby carriage is one of those snap-on plastic pieces. It’s not snapped on. Liz says to me, “Daddy I tried to fix this but it didn’t work”.
I ask her, “What do you mean you tried to fix it, what’s wrong with it?” At this point I hadn’t yet realized that the carriage cover just needed to be snapped in. Anyway, she says to me, “Well Daddy – I tried to glue it together but it didn’t work”.
Ahhh, now I get it. She hands me the two pieces and I realize she had used the arts & crafts “glue stick” to try to assemble her “broken” carriage. I snapped the pieces together and showed her how it fits together. She smiled and said “Thanks, Daddy”.
Then I walk over to the table where she had the glue stick. I chuckle to myself on the inside. I’m thinking about how cute she is for trying to glue together her “broken” toy. She’s not even 5 yet.
I wanted to tell you this story because I am sure plenty of these little things happen to parents. Even though my daughter’s attempt to fix her toy would never have worked, you have to promote problem solving skill development in kids.
If I had scolded her for making a mess with the glue, I would be squashing her creativity and I’d actually be teaching her NOT to try to solve her own problems. I’d be encouraging her to come to me instead of figuring it out for herself.
If she had made a big mess, I would have just shown her how to clean it up. But it was only glue stick. No big deal.
A good rule of thumb is to stop and think, before you react, about what the child’s intention was. In this case it is obvious my daughter was trying to solve a problem on her own. That’s to be encouraged!
As we washed our hands, I told my girl that I was happy to see her looking for ways to solve her own problems. I hope this little story helps you encourage and understand your own child just a tiny bit more.
Enjoy your children,