I often feel like I’ve stumbled through the past 8 years of parenting. There have been so many ups and down and boy, have I had a LOT of lessons to learn. I’m still learning them daily. But there’s a few that stick out as ‘life changers’ in my mind, and this is one of them-
I’ve learned, when they are engaged in something positive, children need to be left alone.
As a homeschooling Mom, I live this philosophy every single day. To be clear, I’m not talking about leaving them to do ‘nothing’ for hours on end. This is about spending lots of time engaging with the children and learning along side them but then, being in tune with when they are happily engaged with play, work, learning and exploration on their own. And in that awareness, choosing to let them be as they are. If they are engaged, enlightened, naturally content and learning independently, I “Let Them Be”. And in our home, sometimes this takes place for hours. For hours they will build Legos. For hours they will draw pictures. For hours they will read. For hours they will play with Playmobil. And yes, we let them.
It’s in those times when they are actively engaged in their own learning that they come up with the most incredible things. Ideas flow like rivers and imaginations run wild and free. Sometimes, it doesn’t look like learning, but then, they show me over and over again just how beneficial those times of creativity and independence are for them.
Our days are not scheduled for us. We have a task list but no set hour by hour schedule. Just the other day, our son was busy building a Solar Power Car from a Science Kit he’d received. The problem was, he was building it at the same time I really wanted him to complete his Math. I was just about to interrupt him when I realized he WAS doing Math. He was engineering a car. I left him alone and we accomplished the ‘book’ Math later in the day once he’d accomplished the task of the car.
Another example is our daughter. She will make up stories with her dolls and stuffed animals for hours. I don’t stop her. I let her explore and create and make believe. Children just don’t have enough time to ‘mess about’ these days, as John Holt put it, and I want ours to have plenty of time to do what children do best – just be.
Our life is incredibly peaceful for a family with three young children. We have our days, but for the most part, I’m amazed. Our children are wonderful independent learners and thinkers. Just like everyone, we’re all a work in progress but I can’t over communicate what ‘letting them be’ has done for our us!
Some of the Benefits of ‘Letting them Be':
- Respects the child’s interests and ability to self-teach
- Brings more peace into the home
- Builds concentration skills and nurtures the habit of attention
- Leaves room for authentic learning to take place
- Allows time for creativity to grow and develop
- Infuses the child’s day with a relaxed, anti-rush atmosphere
- Give Mom time to breathe and accomplish tasks
The only thing I wanted to add is this – there is one exception to the concept of letting children be. Media time. I don’t believe children should have free reign on screens and media devices. That is one activity we always interrupt when the time is up! (We allow no more than about 15 minutes of screen time daily).
Let’s encourage our children to engage in active play and
independent learning and then watch how they develop and grow!
Big hugs and blessings to you!
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