We are pretty much the opposite of the "helicopter parents" who hover and never let their kids fall and are constantly warning their kids to be careful. As much as we can we are near enough to prevent catastrophe, but honestly, even if we wanted to, I think it's virtually impossible to helicopter parent triplet toddlers because you are simply outnumbered and inevitably they go in opposite directions. But letting them go and explore the limits of their physical capabilities is not simply a matter of us being outnumbered or being lazy, it is a very conscious parenting decision on our part. It's important to me that they be allowed to explore their physical capabilities and limits as independently as possible with us there to scaffold and support them as needed.
|Ellie following in Avery's footsteps climbing up on the side table|
and over the arm of the couch (albeit not as gracefully!)
|This japanese hibachi has become a favorite climbing spot|
|it works nicely to look out the window|
|and apparently for climbing on the window sill|
(we did step in on this one because she couldn't get down!)
|Ellie pushing the limits of "safe choices" again|
|toddler picnic table, AKA climbing toy|
|and at the park....|
|Avery was gung ho about trying the "big kid" giant climbing tower|
and everyone else wanted to follow suit
|three babies on the bridge|
|Yes, I am THAT mom that lets her kids climb up the slide (or at least try to!)|
|don't worry..he was fine & you couldn't even tell the next day|
Then yesterday they were all playing in the screen porch and watching me throw a ball for Humphrey while climbing on the toddler picnic table and at some point Ellie sat off the edge enough to tumble to the seat and then to the floor. (note the little red area on her forehead...this sounds bad, but was really in the category of a minor booboo)
|you have to look pretty hard to even see the red spot|
But all in all, I feel confident that our strategy is working. I have seen the learning in action and it's pretty cool to see. We got a little tykes slide for a quarter at a yard sale this summer and we brought that in the other day for them to play with. Avery is quite adept at climbing up and sitting down, but the slide is really quite steep & fast and she got pretty nervous when she tried it by herself with me just spotting. So the next time I showed her how she could lay on her belly to slide down, walking her through the motions. Now she just slides down on her belly or will look at me and sign "help" if she wants to go down her bottom.
And seriously, check out this girl at the park...she can basically do the "slide circuit" independently at 13 months! I know that my view on typical development can get a little skewed at times because I work with kiddos who are delayed, but I'm still impressed every time I see her do this!
Sure sure, all of this is great for gross motor development, but really, the gross motor skills themselves aren't the real reason we let our kids explore like this. What matters the most is that they learn to take calculated risks, to see life as being full of new challenges, to learn to persist when they don't immediately succeed, and to know how to ask for help when they need it. Of course as a PT I want my kids to have all these great motor skills, but much more than that I want them to learn skills that will help them throughout this crazy journey we call life, which is chock full of seemingly insurmountable challenges as well as incredible opportunities and experiences. Oh, yeah, and I want them to have fun along the way!