How to survive your kid leaning to walk with no injuries or helicopter parenting?
Isn’t it amazing how you turn out to be exactly the kind of parent you swore you would never become?
Before I had kids, I was pretty sure I would be very relaxed and supportive parent. But well, life happened. I have twin girls, and they were born prematurely. My girls were so underweight and fragile that my husband and I protected them from any wind gust. It was really intense moment in our life. Now, when I look at the old pictures, I can’t even believe this happened! Moreover, maternity was not something that came naturally to me. I felt lost, I didn’t know what to do. So basically, we were focused so much on achieving the goal – get our babies to the good health and weight – that we run our house as a boot-camp. We had checklists for everything – nap times, feeding schedule, play times and any other baby related activity just to be sure we are doing all what it takes for our little ones to thrive…
I somehow became one of the overprotective and over planning moms I swore not to be. Our life was so strict and organized, that I could literally tell when my babies are going to wake up from every nap (no more than 5 min here and there)! I was just so afraid that I would mess this motherhood thing and the only thing I knew was how to master a new skill by doing my own research. I read a lot. I read parenting, physiology, neuroscience, baby development, etc… And that’s when I found an article about how such controlling environment actually ruins child’s life!
Simply by being so overprotective, you send a signal to your kids’ brain that everything is set in stone, world is not to be changed or explored because Mom knows it all! But that’s not the case and upraise in miserable teen and young adults shows the harm of helicopter parenting. You have to leave space for your kids to explore and create their own boundaries and develop the right attitude – that life is to be created and discovered.
That was a turning point for me! Moreover, it was the time, when my girls started to move around the house, and they were adventurous (thank you, God, they were rebellious kids, and my bootcamps didn’t ruined them before that).Two very active crawlers were running to the two different sides of the house and no one could predict or control that. It was the time for us to find a balance how to be safe at home but don’t kill that natural curiosity in my girls (and what was also very important I had to learn how to keep my shit together because I was going a little bit crazy). For that I needed some serious game plan.
First thing we did, we baby proofed our house. It looked like freakin’ mental hospital! I do agree that extremes are never the answer, yet you have to trust your environment. And the fact that you can go to the toilet BY YOURSELF for the WHOLE 10 SECONDS really helped me mentally.
Secondly, you have to understand that you, as a parent, will not be able to protect your child from the everything. You only need to give them right tools to cope with it. And that’s what we did, we taught our baby girls how to walk with confident really fast. Here are some of the tricks that allowed us to achieve this goal really fast.
Don’t carry your child
I love my girls to the moon and back, but for me carrying two kids at the same time was not really an option, so when they wanted to be carried (both, my kids don’t do anything one at the time, including getting sick and etc.) I just sat with them on the floor. I know it sounds like a simple advice, but just imagine, if the most favorite person in the world would carry you everywhere, why on earth you would like to walk by yourself?
Create opportunities for them to move
Don’t just hand them toys right into their hands – place interesting objects just a bit further away and watch how much motivation this adds! And if toys won’t motivate them that much, you can introduce some unexpected items (preferably shinny), for example tin foil balls was huge hit in our house.
Create interesting environment for them to explore
You know how much cats love boxes? Same goes for toddlers! If you like us happen to have a few spare boxes, don’t just throw them away: it might be an inexhaustible source of joy. We used to build labyrinths, houses, planes, cars… It’s pretty sturdy for them to cruise between objects, but also if they would fell – not a big deal. They were occupied for weeks and weeks at the time. If you don’t want boxes in your livingroom, place soft edged furniture for your child to cruise around. The key is to create short distances between objects and let their imagination do the rest!
Don’t panic if they fall
This is much more important than you may think. Allow your child to understand that failing is a part of learning, that it’s OK to fall and you can always stand up on your feet and try again. Trust me, I know how hard it is to keep your poker face at those crucial moments, but otherwise your scared face says, ‘it’s dangerous, don’t try this anymore’ and this fear may stay with them for a long time.
Don’t rush to buy walking shoes too early
In fact, most shoes usually have thick soles and if your child’s foot is not developed enough, it will be harder for your little adventurer to walk. The best thing is to let your child to walk barefoot or in anti-slip tights.
There is tremendous supply for anti-slip gear and it’s quite difficult to choose the right one for your child. I visited quite a few factories while choosing the perfect materials for ‘Olie the Curious’ and here is the list of things you have to look when choosing anti-slip socks or tights for your child:
- Always buy only certified products. If the product was not properly certified, there is a great chance that some harmful ingredients gets in it. And you have no idea what kind of poison they put in it. The smell in some factories I visited was so horrendous, that after spending half an hour inside my head was spinning big time. You don’t want these hazardous materials near your baby!
- Be aware that due to its unique properties, silicone patches have no grip on wet surfaces. Check out for rubber grips or tights that has other technologies specified that they work well on wet surfaces.
- Make sure the grips are thin, soft and elastic otherwise bumps on soles and knees might be a reason why your baby doesn’t want to crawl or walk at all! That was the reason in our case. I remember it was winter when I bought these cute crawling tights. And my girls were not happy about them! Yet I couldn’t understand why. After taking the tights off there were pressed bumps on the knees. Luckily, I was quick to get how much discomfort my kids had to endure from this small yet important detail.
- Also, if you are buying baby tights, make sure the tights you are buying has adjustable waist. Babies comes in different sizes, and knitted waistband usually get loose after just one wash. Falling tights are great opportunity for your child to fell too.
And remember, your smiling face is the most helpful and motivating thing for your child! So have fun… and happy chasing!