Tuesday, May 11, 2010
LEAVE ME ALONE !
When I first heard of the Pikler parenting method I was very surprised by her attitude of leaving your child alone to play. And I was relieved. How often do you see parents and relatives take a little newborn out of their crib just like that, throw it in the air, shake it and carry it around. Without warning, without asking they interrupt the little ones action - even if that is just lying there and looking around. I always felt sorry for the baby that had no choice but be part of the "fun".
On sunday we experienced our first Pikler - situation of "Let your child be". A friend came over for a visit. I had just fed our son and my husband had changed his diaper. Happy and satisfied he was lying on the sofa still trying hard to move his hands into his mouth. Our friend went over to him, picked him up and held him in front of her face. Immediately he started crying so she began to wonder why. Nervously she started shaking and rocking him, making funny sounds and laughing. The little one continued crying until my husband suggested she should just put him back down because that might be what he wanted. Eventually after a few more rocking rounds he did not enjoy she put him down. He stopped crying and went back to his hands as if nothing had happened.
The problem with "Letting your child be" is that many parents think you are not allowed to play with your child at all, to hold him, to cuddle him. Of course you are allowed and you SHOULD do all that. But you shouldn't do it when it is convenient to YOU, when YOU have a spare moment, when YOU feel like cuddling.
Do not forget that your child is a human too and he has his needs to be alone and play by himself. A few weeks ago he was thrown out of his comfortable warm 24hour restaurant called "uterus" so he needs time to adjust to this world, to find his place, to grasp.
So rather than presenting your child with your constant presence lean back and watch him. Figure out what he is up to and what he needs when he cries. You will learn when it is okay for him to interact with you, when he wants you to hold him, to cuddle him. Enjoy those moments when it's right for both of you but also enjoy the spare time you gain by not entertaining your child constantly.
Also - A child's attention span will be much longer when it is allowed to play with something he chooses not something you put into his hands or in front of his head. See it like that - most of the time you enjoy a magazine/book/article you choose to read much more than a magazine someone just put into your hands because he or she think you should read that right now!! you want to read it when you are in the mood. And you will eventually read it. Interested. With full concentration. Your child will do the same. With the toys it chooses himself!