child-led

Child-led

December 22, 2011, 0 Comments

I believe in following a child’s leading. Each child is gifted differently and so following his lead helps to nurture where his interest lies. My son has an aptitude for things that require fine-motor skills. So we let him pick up a child-scissors and let him have a go with paper. If he does not like it or can’t do it, he is free to do something else. But since he was doing well, we give him more opportunity. He started cutting at one plus and has been at it for a year now. What he is not allowed to do however, is to cut whatever he fancies. We set boundaries for what he can cut and what he cannot. For example, he can only cut the pamphlet we pass to him and a stack of paper in his drawer. After cutting the papers, he is to keep the unfinished pile and throw away what he does not want. He is not allowed to cut his clothes or books. So certainly, child-led is not the same as child dictates!

I learnt that setting boundaries are the sort of training which spurs a child to greater height. Skills training transforms the mind, but when we train the heart, we train the whole person. Setting boundaries teaches a kid responsibility, respect and instill good habits that lasts.

This morning, my son was doing random doodling when some colour went off the paper, onto the floor. While he is not allowed to draw on the floor, we realise he couldnt actually contain his enthusiasm in his big circles and multicoloured art on paper! Boundary setting is not asking him to butt off and stop drawing. There is a way to train a child in the way he should go, so when he is old, he will not depart from it. We can choose to manipulate the environment and set a big piece of craft clothe beneath him so that he can draw and draw and not dirty the floor, but we are missing a teachable moment. We can choose to get him to get a clothe and clean up after himself and in so doing, we have taught him to be responsible. Theo has his very own pail and multi-purpose clothe for situations like this. And for that matter, his very own pail that matches his size.

Seeing from a child’s perspective becomes an all important task we do all day. It is from seeing as he sees that we understands where he is coming from. I tell myself, it is not always about the results but enjoying the process that matters. My son has his things that matches his size. Everything around us are adult size and is made for the adults. It is as if, everything is too high, too big and just too heavy. He ended up hearing, when you are older, when you are taller and the excuse goes on, before he can do or achieve anything.

A 2 yr-and-half kid is so curious and so excited about the world about him. It is one thing to keep an intellectual conversation going on with him, but really quite a feat to get him to stay quiet and wait for his turn to speak. I started training him to “be quiet and wait for your turn” last evening and before I could finish my conversation with daddy, he told me “finish already, my turn mummy”. Yes, even in the Bible, we are taught, “slow to speak, quick to listen”. In waiting for a turn to speak, we are teaching respect for others, patience and being polite. Think a child might grow into it sooner or later? We may have come across adults who are so self-absorbed, its impossible to get into a conversation with them. There are those who show impatience in speech or ‘tune-out’ when others speak. I tend to think it is never to early to train. Proverbs 20:11 Even a child is known by his actions of whether his conduct is pure and right.

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