A bit of wisdom from Maria Montessori today:

“Never help a child with a task at which he feels he can succeed.”

For our older son, that’s basically every task now. Last month he hit three and dove headfirst into the world of “I can do it all by myself!” He is putting on shoes, zipping his own jacket, buckling himself in the car seat… as well as a host of other heart-stopping new risky behaviors like pushing around chairs so he can reach everything (hot stove tops, knives on the counter, etc) and slamming car doors.

Getting a drink of water all by myself!

We are trying to cope with this newfound independence so that we can keep him safe without holding him back. So far, we’ve strategically placed step stools so he’s not teetering on chairs. We got remotes for some of the less-accessible lights in the house so he doesn’t have to get creative to turn them on. We have given strict and clear instructions regarding things that are sharp, hot, or potentially finger-amputating. We even put his spoons in a cabinet he could reach so that when he decides to help himself to a yogurt from the refrigerator, he doesn’t eat it with his hands!

The balance between safety and adventure is one all parents have to strike in order to let our kids grow, and the task is made that much harder because it is a constantly moving target. How are you letting your kids stretch themselves today?

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