I have been having a hard time feeling a zest for anything new. Hence the break from posts. But I have been reading some interesting books lately that have been challenging my thinking. One of these books is called Baby Knows Best. It is based off of the work of Magda Gerber.
One of the most valuable take aways I have had lately is the power of sitting back and letting your kiddo play independently. I have a strong urge to jump in and “help” him when he is struggling or affirm a choice with an unnecessary and distracting “nice work!” waaaaaaaaay too often. It is very hard to squelch! I am very into this whole mama-thing, and I want my little guy to know how rad I think he is and how much I enjoy him. So much so, that I forget that he needs the chance to problem-solve on his own more, to explore, and be the guide of his own play.
Naturally, I have been giving myself tests in these areas, and one of the times I find myself most likely to jump into his play with the best of intentions (but really am just distracting), is when he plays with his sensory bins. I have these out in a place he can see them and ask for help opening, and usually I sit down with him and try and show him ways he can interact with the materials. I then proceed to try and limit how much of the material is being dumped out or deliberately thrown. Yah know what happens? He loses interest in a few minutes, and I wasted most of that valuable time “cleaning up as we go”.
In an attempt to let him be more free, and let go of how I think the play should unfold, I have learned to open the sensory bin, and walk away. I keep within eye sight just in case things get reeeeally crazy, but I have noticed some fabulous things! He invents his own ways to use materials, he engages longer, and he actually makes less of a mess….whoa. Tonight I watched him play with marbles in his rice bin for about 10 minutes straight. He loaded them one by one into a scoop (often dropping them all in pursuit of one more), and he buried them, dropped them into a measuring cup and swooshed them around. He dropped things, knocked things over, and was totally in the zone…he completely forgot I was there (I know this, because at one point he looked like he was going to drink the marbles and I blurted “No, buddy, we don’t drink those”, and I just about scared him out of his skin).
Lesson learned: the more I sit back and let go, the more he learns, the longer he engages, and the calmer and more peaceful we both feel!