Mishaps Happen

Use missteps as stepping stones to deeper understanding and greater acheivement. –Susan Taylor

At some point, your children will enter the grand stage of: “I can do it myself” . It’s a great step forward for them and as parents, we need to take a breath, be observant and support them as much as we can! What do they need to find success?

Always keep your eyes open for opportunities to support your young learner!

Here’s the example:

There will come a day when your children will retrieve their own cup from the cabinet, (all by themselves) reach into the refrigerator, pull out the milk jug, and begin to pour, and pour, and pour, spilling the milk everywhere. This is when you need to take a breath and remember the following. The over-pouring was really a miss on what they wanted to have happen. It was a mishap.

After taking a big breath, you might choose say something such as: “Wow, I bet that milk jug was heavy! Looks like the milk ran over the top of your cup and we need to clean it up. Let me grab the paper towels. One for you and one for me. We can clean this up in no time together.”

What have you done, in this instance? You have focused on the event. It’s not personal. You have also given your child the opportuntiy to learn about “cleaning up his/her own mess.” By offering to help, it prevents the task from being overwhelming and yet the lesson is still being taught, in a supportive and non-judging way.

What have you learned? For one thing, your child is ready to learn to pour. Rather than limiting this stage of growth and doing it for him/her, take the time to make this a teachable moment.

How can you support this step of development?

One thought would be to buy a child sized, plastic pitcher so your child can hold the pitcher easily. The second thought would be to take it outside so there can be practice–with water, so he/she can learn when to stop the pouring to get the cup filled “just right.” Let your child know that you are so glad to see he/she is ready to pour on their own and once they are able to do it outside, the pitcher can then go into the refrigerator, waiting for them to use it on their own. In other words, make an agreement that supports and informs their development.

Repetition through practice outside gives the necessary rehearsal needed for the muscles to hold the pitcher and the eyes to watch how the cup fills up. Once mastery of pouring has been acheived, keep the pitcher in the refrigerator so he/she can get to it “all by his/herself.”

Always remember, your children are doers and as such, they are going to have mishaps. It’s only a miss on what they intended.

Have a great day!

See you tomorrow.


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