I have 2 of them. Active little monkeys. 3 year old Chance and 2 year old Etienne. I actually don’t know where all of their energy comes from. Always touching, climbing, jumping off or destroying something! Sometimes I think they are on a mission to kill themselves. As parents of small children we barely have any energy left for ourselves at the end of the day, when we take our boys out, David and I get asked how do we keep up with them? Truth is we are pretty relaxed with our boys, often we let them figure it out for themselves. I mean that in a non-neglectful way of course. We give our boys the freedom to run, jump, dance, throw, wrestle, climb as they please. The rule is if its not gonna hurt them or put them in direct danger or destroy someones property, let them do it.
Children are meant to be seen AND heard. Every action and sound that they make in these first few years helps them to develop and learn. They are supposed to know how to climb — if you don’t let them they won’t learn. They are supposed to touch and feel objects to learn about textures and for mobility. The more they use their hands the better they get at it. They need to jump off things to practise landing on their feet. They need to fall to be able to learn to brace and pick themselves up. And sometimes they need to feel pain to learn how to cope with it. They are constantly creating new rules about what they can, can’t, should and shouldn’t do.
If you are constantly hushing your child every time he or she opens their mouth, your child may struggle with vocalising opinions and standing up for themselves in the future. If you don’t allow them to make mistakes they will assume that life is easy and naive. If you don’t let them take small risks now they will not learn to assess risk at a later stage. If you give them everything, they will expect it from everyone else. If you shelter them away from disappointment, rejection, loss and fear, they will struggle to create strong coping mechanisms.
So let them live. Let them play in the dirt, let them get dirty, let them hang from a tree, jump off the ledge. Just be there. Be there to make sure they are ok and safe, then be there to pick up the pieces.
Don’t worry too much about mess till the end of the day. Create a fun, safe and active environment for them at home. We like to cook, draw, play chasy, soccer, wrestle and dance with our kids. The whole family gets involved, even grandma! We take them to the mall, the park and the beach often because they need to get out. And when they are well exercised, they sleep better at night. And so do you 🙂
I’d love to hear about how other parents deal with active kids, so please feel free to leave a comment below.