A few weeks ago my son and I were in line at Chipotle and he asked me if he could have a penny to put in his pocket. He stood with me in line or at least pretty close to me putting his penny in his pocket and then pulling it out occasionally dropping it on the floor and picking it up for about 5 minutes. He was happy and occasionally squealed with joy when he would actually get the penny into his pocket and not on the floor. Some people were smiling at him and others were concerned. So concerned that the lady behind me felt she needed to warn me of the dangers of kids having pennies because if they put them in their mouths they could choke, which is true, but since he knows what money is and that he shouldn’t put in his mouth and I was standing right there I thought it was a good way to distract a two year old while waiting in line.
I guess I just have a different philosophy on how to raise children, she didn’t have any with her and seemed to be very young so who knows if she even had her own. But I let my son do things that are not by the book pretty often and in the end I feel it is preparing him for life rather than endangering the life he is currently living.
My two year old loves to put pennies in a penny jar. My in-laws have various toys for him when he comes to visit, but he often ignores the toys and goes straight for the penny jar and empties it out and fills it up over and over. It was an accidental find and I’m not really sure how he got his hands on it the first time, but he did. And in the beginning we had to be very careful and watchful and I was concerned he might put them in his mouth, but he never did. But he did learn what money is and now knows what money is and if he saw a coin on the sidewalk he would pick it up and put it in his pocket or bring it to me instead of putting it in his mouth.
Another example of something dangerous I let him do is the fact that I let him cut ribbon with me occasionally. He knows he isn’t supposed to play with scissors and so when I accidently left them in a drawer he can now open (I guess we need to move them again) he came to me with ribbon and the scissors so we could cut the ribbon together.
He knows what things are and knows what they are used for. I have seen articles where kids get into things, like the tide laundry pods, and they eat them because they think they are candy, but another mom recently posted about how she let her kids throw it in the laundry (with supervision) of course. Now her kids know what they are and likely won’t eat them.
I wonder if we try and shelter our children from the world a little too much. Maybe if we took the time to teach them we wouldn’t have to worry so much. Of course, there are still things to worry about and you can’t teach them everything, but you also can’t be there every second of every day to watch out for them.
When we take the time to teach our children what is right and what is wrong and how to use tools correctly aren’t we just preparing them for life?