As a parent, I believe that outdoor playtime is very important for the kids. Apart from their daily outdoor time in childcare, I also try to make it a point to bring them out where possible to playgrounds on weekend (This is also the reason why I embark on the journey for Play@SG).
Last week maybe I’m in “philosophy” mode that I suddenly realize that there are two important lessons I can learn from the playground trip.
1. Let go and the kids will learn faster.
In the past, I always stand behind the kids at the playground to watch out for them. And of course as a playmate. Till date, both my kids (4 y.o and 2 y.o) will request me to join them at the playground. Not wanting to disappoint them I always agree.
However, last week we brought the kids to the playground with their cousins. Since they have playmates and the kids are old enough, I choose to sit with Chubby and watch from a distance. Halfway thru, I got the kids to break and drink water. Our girl decides to bring her bottle with her and drinks it at the rocker. However, the rocker was a little taller than usual, and the girl need both her hands to pull herself up. I foresee she will be having difficulty and is very tempted to run after her to help. However, I stopped myself and just watch.
True enough when she reach the rocker she couldn’t figure out how to get up. She turn and look at me. From where I was I shouted to her to put her bottle down first before getting up. She looked around and got my hint. She placed her bottle on the rocker and heave herself up.
Minutes later, she wanted to get down, again she was “stuck”. She tried a few method, and suddenly as if she recall my previous instruction, she put her bottle down, got down herself and reached out for her bottle after that.
I was very happy that she has relate her previous experience and applied it to a similar situation. This shows that she had learn. I am very sure things will be very different had I been following behind her. She would asked for help instead of trying out herself, i.e she will never learn.
Let the kids explore on the own, very soon they will learn.
2. Let the kids handle playground politics on their own where possible.
Playground being a communal area can have its own politics involve. There will always be the older kids around, who try to bully their way through or others who think the playground is theirs (because they came first?).
As much as possible, I do not try to interfere in such politics. It’s a good training ground for the kids to know that they are not always “protected” and to learn to get themselves out of sticky situation. We can’t always be there for the kids. The faster they face up to reality (a little cruel) the better. Of course when situations are out of hand, I believe parents should still step in. But always watch before you react.
How about you? Did anything inspire you while you were out with the kids at the playground? Do share with me.