Choices — we all like to have them and we feel deprived when we don’t. The same holds true for children as much as it is the case for adults. A few months ago, we had given some serious thought to the type of parents we were or were going to be and it have decided that we always have been and always will be free range parents. What I mean by that is we’re not keen on being helicopter parents and we are not keen on constant active play with Sophia. There are of course some exceptions like TV … whether or not preferred, it has crept into our daily lives and we are tolerating it — for now.
I am a basic believer that independence at an early age is a key to success in later life when your mom and dad aren’t always going to be there to help, entertain, or plan your life for you. As such, ensuring that Sophia is able to self occupy for a prolonged period of time and is essential. Self-paced exploration is key to self occupation and we try our best to allow her that basic freedom. Speaking of freedoms … sometimes you simply don’t have a choice. This is certainly true for kids… you have to eat or you have to brush your teeth and you have to do it now. I don’t believe in unnecessary tears, in forcing a child to do something they don’t want to do and am keen to quite frankly outsmart Sophia whenever I can. I noticed a few months ago that Sophia had started to take on a decidedly “No” attitude. It is entirely normal — she is just exercising her right to choose. Her choice matters and I would like her to always remember that… so we encourage her to choose but have steered her into a much more “Yes” attitude.
She always gets a choice and as the weeks go by, we try to introduce more freedom to her choice. Our “Yes” and “Choice” attitude shifts the emphasis on the action and more on the fact that it is her choice. For example, she gets to choose her clothes in the morning. She is sometimes not a fan of getting out of her pajamas (how many of us are?!), but she is much more willing when she gets to choose her clothes. Even then, she doesn’t get free reign of her closet, just a choice between a few shirts and shorts/pants. Even the smallest choices let her feel like she has a say. Having a say and exercising her choice and decision-making skills will hopefully help develop these faculties for a future as a rocket scientist or a high-stakes investment banker or … just a well-adjusted member of society where we have free choice.
I totally agree with this philosophy. You can also call it “choose your battles.” 🙂