Parents sometimes ask me what I talk about in my RIE parent guidance classes.
We talk about a variety of child-raising topics. Some of the topics that were popular last week include self-motivation, exploration, how our grown-up actions can affect a child’s experience, and what messages we send to children unintentionally.
After class, one of the dads sent me this beautiful story about what he and his child experienced because of his new perspective. Sharing with his permission.
“Our 21-month-old son has been enjoying kicking a soccer ball around lately, so I took him to a grassy field at a city park with the intention of doing more of that.
However, soon after we arrived, he was drawn to the dirt baseball diamond nearby, and started grabbing handfuls of the dirt and throwing them. My first impulse was to think “No! Don’t get dirty!” but I held back saying anything once I noticed how much he was enjoying the sensation of pushing his hands through the dirt and watching it fall through his fingers.
The sun illuminated the plumes of dirt as they fell from his hands, and he ran back and forth kicking up clouds of dirt as he went.
He found a crusty old tennis ball in the dirt and started bouncing that around as well.
He even ran and slid and tripped into the dirt, falling onto his belly. He touched his face and it got totally filthy (even getting into his eyes), his shirt and pants got covered with dirt. But he was happy and engrossed for over 30 minutes doing all of this.
The experience seemed to calm and regulate him – he didn’t “need” me during that entire time. He was completely absorbed in his own plan of play as he explored the textures and senses. I realized how much tactile and sensory feedback from the world we often miss out on in our urban, interior-oriented lives (especially during the pandemic). It was such a simple thing – just playing around in the dirt – but I was reminded of how we can seek more opportunities for these kinds of simple joys and experiences.”
Wishing you all the best in the difficult yet exciting journey of parenting!