Monday, September 6, 2010

Avant Garde Parent of the Week: Caroline

This is Caroline. Her 18 month old takes after mommy- she’s smart, funny, and has GORGEOUS eyes. Caroline is such a remarkable woman and mom. You can tell from reading her post that she has a great positive attitude and is so patient with her daughter- two characteristics that every parent should strive to have. Read on as Caroline shares how she helps her daughter learn that sometimes, the best rewards come from hard work on frustrating problems.

Caroline working a puzzle with her daughter
One day I picked up my 18 month old daughter from daycare and her provider enthusiastically described how my daughter loves puzzles.  She handed my daughter a puzzle, which she completed easily, and we cheered for her.  We have many puzzles at home so I know how much she loves working the pieces into their correct place.  I also realized that when we work on a puzzle that is a little difficult for her she quits and turns her attention to a simpler puzzle.  When she completes the simple puzzle with ease, she looks to me happily and claps wildly, looking for me to do the same. 

It occurred to me that although I want her to love to succeed on tasks she knows well, I also want her to learn that struggling with things a bit more difficult is also worthy.  I have started to pay attention to moments when she shows frustration, and before she gets the chance to quit I clap and smile and tell her “Wow that needs more work!  Let’s try again!  Wow! You are working so hard!”  Lots of clapping and smiling follow.  Of course, she may still insist on moving on, and that is just fine with me.  Interestingly, though, she has begun to turn her attention to the tougher puzzles first, leaving the easier ones for later on in our play.  I help her move the pieces in place if she needs me, or I point out clues to figure out which piece goes where.  She is still very young to understand all of the words, but perhaps this will help her see that mommy likes to struggle with tougher problems.  It is the struggle to figure things out that is fun and praiseworthy, not just the product of success.  

At any age, praise the process as well as the product!


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