Allowing Children to Learn and Grow: Embracing Falls

Is it counterintuitive not to prevent children from falling? Falling is a crucial part of learning how to move safely. This experience becomes impossible in an unsafe environment. So, the first step is to create a safe space where a baby can freely explore, take risks, and learn to fall safely.

Here are a few thoughts:

✅  Allow a child to spend time on their back on a mat with a few passive and simple toys around.  Mat will soften the impact of their first tumbles and falls. By experiencing falls themselves, children figure out how to group and control their bodies. It’s important not to rush a child to walk before they’re ready.

You don’t need to buy any additional equipment to help your child learn to walk. Besides having many negative side effects, they also prevent children from learning how to fall:

❌  Refrain from buying a walker for your child—they don’t support your child’s gross motor development.

❌  Skip the protective helmets.

❌  Say no to baby push walkers.

❌  Don’t invest in a walking harness.

✅ Allow opportunities for your child to pull up on furniture when they’re ready. Avoid holding a toddler’s hand to help them walk. Especially refrain from holding one hand and pulling up to help a child who isn’t walking yet, even if they “ask for it” or “like it so much”. Children who aren’t led by the hand tend to fall less frequently and usually don’t fall face-first or backward on the floor.

✅  Parents sometimes ask me if children who learn to walk and climb never fall. Children who learn to walk and climb independently have better control over their bodies, but they still fall.

✅  When a child falls, stay calm and approach slowly. Sometimes children can regroup and may not need your assistance.

If you see that your support is needed, get down to the child’s level, touch gently, and speak softly. Give the child a moment to assess the situation. Pick them up if they desire a hug; comfort them in your arms. After the child calms down, narrate what happened and point to where they fell.

Let me know if you need more information about RIE® Parent-Infant Guidance™ Classes.

Wishing you all the best in this difficult yet exciting journey of parenting!

Warmly,

Teacher Kira

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