What to do with a Crying Child
I’ve been spending time with the toddlers lately and I’d like to share some musings on the path to independence. On Wednesday, when Ms. Kathryn was out and Ms. Liz was stuck in that horrendous traffic jam, Ms. Susan and I got toddler duty. So, although we had made great strides with this, we were back to having a number of ‘criers’.
I thought, “I can help with this” and waded into the breach. And indeed I was able to take the two persistent ones by their hands (actually I offered them a finger and they latched on) and we went for a walk around the playground. The crying subsided as we took a few turns around the track. Then other duties began to pull at me. I tried to disengage. One of my little friends was having none of it. He immediately started wailing again. I beckoned to him and told him with my words and body language that he could continue to walk with me (I just wasn’t going to hold his hand). His message to me was clear. Come hold my hand!
My ‘take-away’ was this. I let my young friend know that I was there to help him with what was reasonable and that he had choices. However, he could not define those choices (as he is not even two yet). I realized that this is the trick with children of all ages. What are appropriate choices? And who defines them? We need to give our children choices and let them experience the consequences. If those choices are appropriate, then we see them safely on the path of independence.