Children naturally want to do things for themselves. Regardless of their age, we have all seen this drive for independence emerge in our children and students. At times, it can feel like a great accomplishment; at other times, a challenge. For all of us who care for them, a real challenge exists in allowing children to encounter struggle. We love them and we don't want them to become frustrated. We want to protect them and not see them fail. This is a natural reaction. However, we know that it is through the act of doing that we learn about our abilities and strengths, about our challenges and areas for growth, about how to struggle and to overcome. And it is these daily lessons, experiences, and encounters that aid their belief in themself, their self-confidence, and their self-esteem.
As we guide with this perspective, we navigate the balance of providing just enough support, without becoming an obstacle in their independence. As they grow and change, this balance evolves and they often need less support than we realize. So today, take a step back. Observe. Allow your child to try. Allow your child to struggle a bit. They may surprise you in what they're able to work through on their own.
To allow young children to do things for themself is both an act of faith and an act of love - communicating we believe in them and their ability to succeed, and that we care about their growth as a human being.
To explore further, Nichole Holtvluwer has a well-written blog post on the topic.