Letting Little Hands Reach Out
by Dr. Carole G. Hankin
with Randi T. Sachs
I'm in the very
best stage of parenting: It's called grandparenting. My three
children have given me seven grandchildren all under the age
of seven, and most are under the age of three. They live in various
parts of the country and quite often they all come to visit at
once. It's always an adventure.
always interested in their intellectual development, and I find
it fascinating to watch them as they encounter new things and
then decide what they are for. Since they are my grandchildren,
I have the luxury of indulging them. But the best gift I can
give them is to just say "yes" when they make a new discovery.
Having several toddlers and infants over at once makes the message
of the need for preventive "child-proofing" sound loud and clear.
When it's four, five, six, or seven pairs of small hands reaching
and touching everything they see, it's obvious that there is
no room for ambiguity. We've got to keep those children safe
and happy and provide them with an environment from which they
is what drives them to learn. Parents need to encourage them
to explore and find answers on their own from the time they are
crawling and grasping things and on throughout their lives. It
may be easier to just keep everything out of reach, but it is
not the best thing for your child.
the holidays all but here, I suggest that anyone who has children
or will be visited by small children do some immediate observation
and see what needs to be put away. Then I recommend you take
one step further. Look around for what you can put within the
children's reach and furnish your home with safe "treasures" that
they can discover. Instead of having to tell them "no," when
they reach for an object, you can relax and say, "Yes, you may
play with that." This is especially true for children who are
beyond the grab and destroy stage, three or four years old and
you have a collection of photos from your travels? Leave it
where your child
can discover it on his or her own, and then cuddle up and share
some of your favorite stories about the places you've been. Have
you kept any toys from when you were young? Your child may be
intrigued with a toy that doesn't actually use batteries or have
to be plugged in, and isn't some kind of alien monster.
my oldest grandchild (she's seven) I can say "yes" to a lot
of different things. If it's just her and me, we can have dessert
after) dinner. We can stay up as late as we want, or escape from
the babies and have a grown-up excursion. It's really not that
important what we do, just as long as she leads the way.#
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