I struggle with this, but I believe in it. I’m kind of a “heli-mom”. (Helicopter mom, as in I hover more than I should.) As I mentioned last week, my daughter is out of school for summer. Woohoo!! I’m so happy to have her home. Typically I’ve put her in one or two half-day, week-long camps. I decided against it this summer because she’s on a swim team (big time commitment) and we have a few week-long trips planned. Plus, for us, summer is really only two and a half months long. On top of that, I plan to do some day trips with my parents and the kids and some with my husband and the kids when we are able. (Summer fun calendar to come.) If you add all that together, there won’t be many days where we won’t have much to do.
I guess I’m just trying to spend the most time possible with my kiddos while I can. While I have many parenting lessons to learn, today I’m focusing on letting my kids solve their issues on their own more instead of me intervening before they have the chance. This school year was eye-opening one for me. My daughter attended TK, half days five days a week. It was our first experience with a traditional classroom setting. There were high points and low points. In retrospect, one of the moments I originally classified as a low point, actually may have been a high point.
This happened way back in September (she was 4 at the time) on the way home from school:
Me – How did you get those scratches on your arm?
L – From school.
Me – Let’s clean them up and put some band-aids on when we get home OK? So what happened? Did you fall?
L – Well, I was in the home living section (a term they used in preschool) of the classroom and I was looking through all the babies to find the most beautiful baby with the most beautiful long blonde hair. (All but one are bald.) When I finally found her another girl came over and said she wanted the most beautiful baby too. She just wanted to fight me for it. She was scratching me to try to get the beautiful baby.
Me – What?!?! Did you go get a teacher?
L – No, she just kept fighting me.
Me – That’s not ok. Why didn’t you go get your teacher to help with the situation?
L – It’s ok, we figured it out mom.
Was this classroom like “Lord of the Flies”? At the time I was horrified. But now I see that lesson needed to be learned, albeit not in that way. I’m not condoning the fighting. But when you go from a situation where you have 3 teachers for 18 kids to one teacher for 28 kids, kids will need to handle things on their own. Letting kids figure it out conflicts on their own helps them to become lifelong problem solvers and builds their confidence. I need to be better about this at home between my two kids.
This summer I plan to have the “best days ever” with my kiddos, but I realize that is going to mean I have a few things to learn, like letting them figure things out on their own. What do you think your children will teach you this summer?