Children are endowed by nature. They are born ‘rich’. Their assets being, high tenacity and
the strength to struggle. The baby’s struggle at birth and the miraculous arrival into this
world is proof of that.
Human babies love to ‘do’. They love to manipulate, explore and taste. Children love to use
their hands and feet and toes and fingers. Their adventures grow with growing bodies and
Perhaps my favourite baby adventure story is the tale of the banana. Imagine giving a half
peeled banana to a ten month old. What follows next would be a delight to watch. The baby
would perhaps squeeze it, enjoy the feel of the pulp and very eagerly taste it. So, even
before I can type all this, the banana is in the child’s mouth, partially or completely eaten,
and pretty much enjoyed and relished. The child in the bargain has mastered her first feat
as an independent being. She has managed to feed herself, enjoy herself, use her strengths,
exercise her senses, discover and is perhaps looking forward to getting another banana!
The point is simple and much advocated, if you give the child an opportunity to do
something, they will do it; eventually, if not at once.
If you do not give them a chance, you will never know what they can do. Sadly, the child
himself will never know what he is capable of doing independently.
Independence is perhaps the greatest asset we can pass on to our little ones.
The desire ‘to do’ is what we are born with; while the confidence to move ahead comes
from our experiences. The wider the experiences the ‘richer’ the child.
Ironically, the glorified educational experiences, at the up-to-date, urbane neighbourhood
schools and our homes alike, seem to be missing the point. Children do not seem to get an
opportunity to practice simple skills, which foster independence.
At the risk of sounding too opinionated, there are enough 7-8 year olds who do not know
that they can feed themselves in the absence of the mother/caretaker that includes eating a
banana. An even greater number of similar 7 and 8 year olds believe they cannot tie their
shoe laces without help, or pack a school bag maybe. The list of such untried tasks is long.
Again, it is not mastering a task that is important; what is important is trying it out
Allowing is encouraging.
Let your 11 month baby attempt to feed herself; let the toddler choose her clothes; let the
preschoolers try a hand at their shoe laces, dress themselves up, fold their napkins, pack
their school bag, and arrange their toys.
Encourage your 9 year olds to design their own projects and do their school work and let
your teenagers study and perform independent of you!
Give them a chance and you will never need to do that job for them again.
The sense of achievement and development, in question, is theirs, not yours anymore!
Rohini Sethi Child Development Consultant https://in.linkedin.com/in/rohini-sethi-32715247