Slow Down! Giving Your Toddler the Time to Discover the Little Things

As adults, we are constantly in a rush.  There is always somewhere to be, something to do, and we are always running late.  Seeing it written like that, it sounds so stressful!  This is an instance when we could really learn a lesson from our young children.

Toddlers are almost never in a rush.  There is too much to see on the way to the destination, too much to do in the process of completing the task, and everything is new!  There is a wonderful book that I read during my Montessori training that has stuck by me through the years.  Now that I have my own toddler, I am reminded of it everyday.  I highly recommend The World of the Child: A Fable for Parents, by Aline D. Wolf.  It is written from the point of view of an adult who suddenly finds himself in a much larger world — he now sees the world as his toddler son does.  It is very short and easy reading.  Click here to buy it on Amazon. (It’s kind of expensive.  If you live by me, send me a message and you can borrow it!)

Now, of course, sometimes you really do have to get somewhere right away.  But be honest — that trip to Target is not an emergency.  If it takes you ten minutes to get from the front door to the car, your groceries will probably still be available at the store.  Sometimes you really do have something important to do.  But, at the playground, does it really matter if your child wants to explore the mulch for half an hour instead of climbing on the equipment?

Your toddler has just reached the point of being able to explore on her own!  She is now walking, so she can decide where she goes.  She has the gross motor skills to bend down and squat while she examines a worm wriggling on the sidewalk.  She is absolutely fascinated by tiny things that you don’t even notice.

The other day, following a trip to the playground during which L spent a good 15 minutes picking up pieces of mulch and putting them somewhere else, we attempted to climb the front steps.  But there were newly blooming roses on the bush at the bottom of the steps!  Halfway, up there was a tiny pine cone!  Another step up, there was a giant rock!  At the top of the steps, a few ants hurried around in the sun.  That trip up the front steps took 5 minutes.  L was teaching me patience.  The world was teaching her immeasurable things that I can’t even fathom.  Slow down!