“Don’t worry Mom; they’re beautiful. They look like fancy toes.”
They sure are my dear. They sure are.
My three-year-old couldn’t wait to show Daddy and tell him that she did it all by herself. The excitement in her voice and pride that was written all over her face reassured me that I must be doing something right.
Several years ago, the perfectionist in me would have taken control and painted my daughter’s toes for her. They would have been pretty, neat and she would have loved them.
But what would she have learned? That she was too little to do it by herself and that someday when she was bigger, she could do it.
A New Meaning to “Picture Perfect”
Thankfully, before I had kids, a wise woman taught me about the importance of child-led learning. The ‘picture perfect’ outcome is not what matters.
I believe children should be given the materials that they need to complete a task and allowed to use and manipulate them how they please. Whether it’s an art project, getting themselves dressed, playing a game, or painting their toes, there isn’t a “right” or “wrong” way.
A child-led approach encourages problem solving, discovery, and creativity. When we allow our children to explore on their terms, we are empowering them to trust themselves, to develop confidence, a positive self-image, and encouraging them to be life-long learners.
The child-led picture might not be perfect, but the outcome is so much sweeter when we trust our children and allow them to blossom on their terms.