Monday, June 18, 2012


As I spend time with my grandchildren, I like to watch their development and skills that they acquire through their play. My grandson says it best when he says, "I do it myself." They like us to watch and encourage and talk to them but they want to be in charge. That important journey toward independence can be observed on the playground. As they fearlessly jump on the equipment and venture forth into a new experience, their fearless, optimistic outlook on the outcome is taken for granted to be one that they will like. 

They like to be cheered for their efforts, but the adults have to take care not to take away their open acceptance of a little daring. If the adults only give precautions when absolutely necessary, their self confidence is reinforced. We try not to interfere unless something is obviously dangerous. They quickly figure out the connection between actions and consequences. 

Problem solving skills are greatly developed as they get to figure out how to get something to function as they desire whether it is getting on a new playground toy, repairing a toy, or reading on a Nook. My grandson is in a jigsaw puzzle phase so he puts together one after another. He likes to show me how they go together, but my help or suggestions are not welcome--"I do it myself," he says. When a toy stops working, he races to the pantry to get the battery box to replace the battery. 

My granddaughter loves her books and the American Girl catalog. With her birthday coming up, she has a shopping list. I don't read books to her because she wants to read to me. I love listening to her reading her books and sounding out the new words. I can't remember a specific phrase that she often uses but I will always remember her brother's "I do it myself." It reminds me of my dad's often used phrase, "You think about it." 

I like seeing how confident they have become through the freedom they have been given to explore their abilities. They exist in a little protective cocoon of which they are very unaware. They are surrounded by watchful adults with structure without excessive supervision. They have been trained to clean up the toys at regular intervals--before a meal, before leaving to go home, before going to bed and they do a really good job of understanding the concept of neat, organized toys on shelves. They thrive on the structure of knowing the reliable expectations. I'm always eager to see their latest achievements each time I visit with them.


  1. They are so adorable, R.J. And I too love to watch little ones as they develop their skills. Your pictures are priceless. I remember when my mother first let me run the vacuum and how I would run out and ask if I could do it. Now I groan when I realize I need to vacuum! :-)

  2. It is amazing that household chores can be so interesting to little ones. I like teaching my grandchildren to cook and prepare their food. They have chores around their house on a daily basis.

  3. I used to love to swing when I was a kid. Don't think my grandkids get enough of that, though. No swings here at my home. You speak about chores. Well, one thing they hate to do is PUT BACK THEIR TOYS!!!

  4. Your grandchildren are quite adorable! Looks like they are really enjoying themselves. And that they have the training to clean up and actually do it, all the better! My daughter still struggles with that some days.
    Terrific photos, thanks for sharing. :)

  5. You are so very blessed, R.J., as are they. They are truly beautiful. I know how wonderful it is for you to watch them grow just as I am watching my only granddaughter grow every day.

  6. Love your commentary on the grands. I remember my mother letting me do "adult" chores like ironing for the first time. I started out with my fathers handkerchiefs he wore in his suit pocket and sometimes hers. I graduated to t-shirts and doilies at some point. I loved it and it will always be a great memory. They do need to feel independent "with invisible supervision" don't they? I am afraid I was so over protective of my own kids growing up they lacked that independence sometimes and they remind me of it today!! Great post lucky you are to have grandchildren! I'm still waiting!