It is critical for the emotional development of every child to explore the world on their own terms. That’s one of the main concepts of the famous British pediatrician and psychoanalyst – Donald Winnicott. Before going into more details on how I try to apply that concept with my kid, let me tell you why it is an important topic to consider even if you don’t have kids. Understanding the rationale behind this concept can be a great tool for your self-knowledge endeavors.
Letting my kid explore the surrounding world – how I approach it
Set boundaries Counterintuitive, right?
Well, everything in life has its own limits, exploration does too. I set the boundaries of what is okay a bit further than most people do. For example, I’m perfectly fine with my kid opening all the kitchen drawers and pulling stuff out. As soon as he was able to walk, he began exploring them. His very first exploration quest was seeing what was inside the kitchen drawers. I honestly feel that every child has this quest programmed before they are born. Unlike most people who block the kids’ access to their precious utensils, I didn’t care. There can be no serious consequences if something breaks. Yeah, there was a bit more noise than I would like to, but banging the pan on the ground was something NEW to him. It was a result of his exploration quest.
As explorers do, once you visit a place, you rarely go back. It is not interesting anymore, you look for new adventures.
Expose your kid to new experiences
The more new adventures and experiences you can come up with, the better. Remember, playing with all the spoons in your house is something dull for you, but it is new to your kid. Don’t stop him or her, just because something seems boring to you.
I always try to come up with the most random activity I can think of. For example, putting him in the laundry basket and carrying him around the house or getting the saucepans and pretending they are drums.
I do the first thing that comes to my mind without any judgments. I consider 2 things only – is it safe and have we done it before.
Don’t get mad for broken items and damaged walls
If they can be fixed or replaced, don’t get upset and yell at your child. I don’t see a point in adding more arguments and explanations here – just don’t do it. Let it be.
Self-knowledge, although hard to achieve, according to Socrates is an essential component. Grasping the idea of exploration combined with reflection can be a powerful tool. It will help you understand who you are today. At least for me, it unearthed some interesting insights. Hope it will help you too.
This article is part of my writing challenge – Writing Seed. Join it and become more consistent with writing. It’s totally free.