Urge to Help
It was my first class after COVID quarantine and Casey’s first class in her life. Casey crawled down from her mom’s lap and moved fast across the room. She climbed up on the wooden ramp and low wooden platform. Casey started playing with some cars. After a little while it seemed like she wanted to get down. Casey moved towards the edge and decided against going down; she made complaining sounds.
I said to her: “I will get closer, I want to see how you are doing up there.” I moved closer and started observing Casey. Casey found the cars and bracelets. She explored them. She made several attempts to climb down and showed some frustration about it and yet came back to her play.
I was sitting there and wondered at what point I might need to help Casey and bring her down. After all, it is her first day.
Parents often ask me this question: for how long should we wait and when is it time to help?
Well, there is no “right” answer to this question; you can decide this by observation and trial & error. Reflect after the incident. You might think, “Well, I could have let my child experience frustrations a bit longer; maybe I intervened too fast” or “It looks like I waited too long, she had a hard time recovering. Next time I will support her a bit faster.”
Casey’s mom Jen was sitting across the room trusting me and her daughter. Later Jen told me, “I timed you – it went on for thirty minutes.” Jen told me that she was impressed with the length of time I waited.
For me, it is the hardest to overcome my urge to help others and make them feel better. At that moment, I think about the value of trust and the great opportunity to explore challenging situations while the grown-up is close and it is safe.
Wishing you all the best in this difficult yet exciting journey of parenting!