Blankie and Binkie
By Tammy Derouin
It seems like whining and crying has become the favored pastime for many people. I didn't hear this kind of senseless bellyaching or see these kinds of tears and temper tantrums when I used to take my girls to daycare. But then again, the daycare/learning center I used didn't put up with such nonsense. As the older, yet preschool aged children, grew and learned how to socially interact, certain behavior was expected. Rules were in place with appropriate consequences for those who needed the occasional reminder.
We encourage children to develop skills which allow them to take care of their own needs. It doesn't matter to the child if more than half the food lands down the front of them or on the wall and floor. What's important to them is that they are trying to do it themselves. Their encouragement to succeed is the desire to eat. Eventually, more lands in the target area. They're happy they can do it. You're happy you don't have to do it and the mess they make eventually dwindles, hopefully. No matter how many times they fail, they never give up. They want to do “it” themselves.
It would be crazy to discourage independence. Have you ever witnessed a parent or caregiver discourage a child from eating with utensils, drinking from a cup or insist on the diaper over the potty? That would be insane! We want our children to grow and learn, to stand on their own two feet. Each challenge they face prepares them for the next one. It's exciting to watch as they realize they have achieved a new skill.