I debated on the title of this for a while. My child is not a monkey, I am not a monkey, but the saying is fitting all the same. We went camping a few weekends ago and it was a great learning experience for Caleb and I. I kept catching him doing things I’d expect from a child a lot older than nineteen months old. These were things that if I trusted him less, if I was assuming he COULDN’T do it, wouldn’t have happened and would have been incredibly hypocritical. Children are smart and capable. Anything an adult can do, chances are pretty good that the child can as well. Now I’m not saying he can fix a bike on his own. I’m just saying, he can help and he can try. He can understand that tools go ‘here’ when things need fixing.
The night before, he saw people loading fire wood into the pit. The next morning, he went over, lifted all of those heavy logs, and placed them in the pit. I was ready to jump on it and take the wood away before his poor toes got squished. Instead I stood back and let him complete the task he was so determined to finish. After he dropped each log into the pit we would clap for him and he would absolutely beam.
My uncle had another bike propped up on the table to fix it. He was tightening a bold and had Caleb’s complete attention. Caleb reached up onto the table, grabbed a couple of wrenches, and went to work on this other bike. He knew that was where the wrench went and it would make the bike, “All Better.” He learned about the idea of fixing things by watching an adult and took it upon himself to do the same.
Before bed he spilled a little bit of water on the floor. Now, I kid you not. He grabbed the mop, as he’s seen his Mimi and I do again and again, and mopped up his mess. Now this was, at the time, a nineteen month old toddler. He knows that when something spills, it needs to be cleaned up. He knew that the way to clean the floor is with a mop because he’d seen us do it. He took the responsibility upon himself, of course without being asked, to mop the mess he made.
Be a good example for your children. Trust that they will follow it. If they see violence, they will be violent. If they see you fighting or yelling all the time, that’s what they will do. If they see you using gentle hands, that’s what they will reflect. Children are sponges. They pick up on everything they see. So, what do you want them to reflect?