Saturday, March 31, 2012

The Art of Controlled Choice

It's no secret that children love to control things.  Fair enough too.  It must be so boring listening to parents say "do this, do that, not that, come here!"  As much as possible, when it comes to inventing activities for toddlers or projects for preschoolers, I find that if you can set it up and walk away they'll love you for it.

Recently, my girls took the round blue rug in their room downstairs into the lounge room.  Together, we collected some dry bath toys, fake flowers, and other odds and ends, and made a 'help-yourself pile'.  From this 'help-yourself pile' the girls could pick and choose what they wanted and set about making a Mermaid Pond, in which all sorts of fabulous games took place, for nearly an hour, if you can believe it.

The advantage of a  'help-yourself pile' is the apparent sense of freedom.  How liberating they must have found it to pick and choose, arrange, sweep away and start again however they wanted (subject to current sibling rules and rivalry).  The other advantage, is that there's still parental-control.  You still ultimately control the choices; no real water was allowed, including bath-toys that made 'swishy' sounds when we shook them.

Parenting is a humble experience, for me at least; I feel like I'm always learning.  One thing I have learnt though is that controlled-choice seems to be a winner; at least for my girls.


Ali said...

Thanks for visiting my blog and leaving a lovely comment. I can't wait to have a look around your blog. I love being able to set something up for my kids and walk away. I don't want to be control of their play, I want to allow their imaginations to do the work.

Partycraft Secrets said...

so welcome & enjoy your visit; it's so hard sometimes to stay out of child's play... partly because it looks like so much fun!

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