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Toddler learning to work with laces
By Claire

By Claire

Step Back and Allow them to Fail!

How could you step back and allow them to fail? As a parent or teacher, this is the hardest task you will ever face.

“The child who has never learned to work by himself, to set goals for his own acts, or to be the master of his own force of will is recognizable in the adult who lets others guide his will and feels a constant need for approval of others.”

Education and Peace

Society appears to have taken the step of changing the word “parenting” from a noun to a verb. I am not certain how or why this phenomenon occurred. The modern trend is for parents to do “more” for the young child; (offering numerous organized activities, organizing play-dates, etc). In the mind of these parents, offering “more” we will somehow ensure a better more rounded adult with greater advantages, the sooner the better. Parents no longer appear willing to leave children to their own resources, and it is in the sensitive period from 2 to 6 years old that children need time to experiment using their own resources to investigate how things work, their own way; even if they experience a knock or two a long the way.

Step Back and Allow them to Fail

But what we end up doing is making a rod for our own backs. At the beck and call for constant “help”, to alleviate their “boredom”, or find the Child uninterested in trying to do something “because it is too hard“.

How can we ever expect a child to be totally independent, resourceful, or to learn how to overcome adversity if they are never allowed to learn how to do something (at a young age) even if it means they must fail?

The toddler does not allow these failures to stop them trying again and again, until they succeed. However, if we interfere, (because of impatience), and “high-jack” the task, the Child will eventually not bother to even try, the answer is to step back and allow them to fail.

It is after all, well-known that it is only through our failures that we can learn true success and advancement.

This means, step back and observe; as the trained Montessori directress does. I recently came across this post which really resonated with my thoughts, you may find it interesting…

Never Help a Child

Thoughts and Reflections

Written by: Charlotte Snyder

Maria Montessori writes, “Never help a child with a task at which he feels he can succeed.”

Oh yes, of course! This is easy! But note, this is different from, “Never help a child with a task where he is already successful.” There are so many times we “help,” and then, we fall into another Montessori quote, from The Absorbent Mind, once “… independence has been reached, the adult who keeps on helping becomes an obstacle.”

Let us acknowledge two things. First, help always comes from a good place. Second, help isn’t always helpful. Okay, now we can move forward.

True help always comes from a good place….(read more)


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