Our children are capable, competent beings from birth. Often the struggles we find ourselves caught in with our children can be eased by recognizing and honoring their age appropriate capabilities. And with their capable, competent selves appreciated and affirmed, we can now build a strong foundation for the future independent and successful adult we all hope for.
Isnʼt this just what our parenting journey is all about? Growing an adult ready and able to live well? Just what does capable and competent look like through the ages? This new series at positive parenting connection will be covering the different ages & stages from Babies on up, bringing you great information about each phase of childhood!
Part I: Babies! Such amazingly capable little souls. It is easy to think we have to do it all for them, yet when we look for and recognize where they are capable already, we are building that strong foundation for all their growth.
• Self-regulate when it comes to feeding. They know, all on their own, whether they are
hungry, and when theyʼve had enough. Our job is to respect that.
• Communicate with clarity when they are uncomfortable. Our job? To ask them what
they need, talk them through the solutions, “Are you feeling sleepy? Is it time for your
nap? Letʼs go get you ready…”
• Respond to “Are you ready?” as you prepare to change diapers, wipe faces, pull on
clothing—let them know what you need to do, respectfully ask if they are ready, wait a
moment, then follow through—and you will discover their active participation in whatever
it is. You may be surprised!
• Clearly let us know when theyʼve had enough of our well-meaning interactions—
they turn their heads—and when that doesnʼt work, they may close their eyes, cry, or fall
asleep. Our job? Watch…and allow them the opportunity to turn away and decide when
they are ready to re-engage. By doing so they wonʼt need to cry or fall asleep to protect
themselves from being overwhelmed. Baseline for growing respect.
• Hold conversations with you as you respect the give and take—talking, waiting,
• Move their bodies in just the right ways to develop well. Our job? To provide them
with lots of floor time and out-of-containers time to move freely on their own. To roll to
their tummy when they can do it on their own, pull themselves up on furniture, push
themselves to a sitting position, kick, stretch, reach, grasp, chew—this is their job and
they do it well.
• Know the meaning of many, many words as you tell them stories, sing to them, show
them their world—truly creating the foundation of language that is baseline for all their
learning. It can be wonderfully surprising when your 9 month old can point out a
chickadee as different from a robin…
What do you notice about your infant that surprises you? What can you do differently as you see him as the capable little soul he already is? Want to know more about toddlers, young children and beyond? Stay tuned this series will be covering all ages and stages from babies to teens!
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