Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Making Your Children Happy: It's Not About You

Hi Everyone!

Yesterday, my youngest son came to me with a toy car he had found that changes color. I'm sure you've all seen them before, it turns one color when it's cold and then when you run hot water on it, the color washes off and it returns to white or whatever its original color is. He has always been fascinated by things like this, that change in some way or another. We did the milk coloring experiment as well, and he had fun with that too. He loves to do different experiments
and honestly I fail quite miserably in the mom department of doing them with him.
So yesterday, after multiple trips to the sink and the freezer with this toy car, he asked me if I could put the car into a cup of hot water because it was hard for him to run it under the faucet. Then, he asked me if he could put the entire cup into the freezer and freeze the car inside the water. Now, when he first asked, my initial reaction was "what's the point of that?" It was so simple in concept that I couldn't figure out why he wanted to do it. Then I realized that I was approaching this simple experiment with the eyes of an adult who could warp ahead and see what the results would be in a few hours. What I had to do was to stop and imagine it through his eyes, and his imagination. So with that in mind, I opened up the freezer and we carefully placed it in an empty spot in the door and then waited for science to do it's job.
As the day went on, he kept checking it to see how frozen it was getting. This, of course let to lots of questions about how long would it take to be completely done; why are there bubbles in the middle? etc. All day it made him so happy to watch this "experiment" progress and I came to really understand that a child's happiness is not always related to or even remotely a part of our happiness as parents.
Yes, this was an experiment so simple in nature; but it made him happy and that made it important. It supported his imagination and his curiosity, and made him feel as though he was accomplishing something. It is still in the freezer and I have a feeling that tomorrow, much of the day will be devoted to watching the water melt. I think he's trying to be able to take out the ice and car together so you can see them together.

There is always time for lessons about right and wrong, and do's and don'ts. Read a book, clean your room, don't forget to brush your teeth etc. It is important though, that we don't get so caught up in teaching them that we forget to learn from them.
What are ways you strive to support your child's happiness? What seemingly silly things do you let them do that they enjoy? I would love to hear some of your stories.
That's all for me today, thanks for stopping by. Until tomorrow....

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