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Dealing With My Preschooler’s Independence

by Joe Lawrence | December 23rd, 2014 | Preschool, Safety

little girl (399x400)Safety is the first thing that comes to mind when looking at everything through the eyes of a parent. Ever since my kids have been on this Earth, my observation of the world around us has changed. When they are crawlers and just starting to walk, everything gets child-proofed in the home. Now that we have a preschool aged child, my perspective has changed again.

It is easy to manage the environment within my own home; however, I can’t child-proof the world around us outside of the home. This became even more apparent when my daughter decided to open the front door to throw out a leaf that was tracked in earlier that day. I was in the other room changing our baby’s clothes when the chime from the alarm rang and then she came running and screaming for me to come because the dog escaped.

Thankfully a calm feeling came over me as I wanted to be very angry. However, I was able to use this moment as a very effective teaching tool. I was not worried about the dog as she never leaves the yard, so my focus was able to remain on the situation.

My little girl was terrified about what could happen to her dog. I saw the fear in her eyes and told her to go to her room and wait for me.

I went in there a little while later and had the talk with her about the dangers that could have been. Her little brother could have walked out, someone could have walked in, or the dog could have actually run away or worse. I have told her 100’s of times to not open the door for any reason without asking for permission. Up to that point we have been good, although I think much of that can be contributed to the fact she could not reach the deadbolt.

When we talked, she finally understood all of those warnings I had given her. It was now very real, and she was open to listening. I was able to use this incident to really drive home that mom and dad are not just being bossy when we set rules; we are keeping the family safe.

It taught me an important lesson too. Even though people have warned me this could happen and I thought my child was too responsible to do something like this; anything can happen. Her responsibility is what drove her to throw out a leaf, because she was cleaning. It taught me that she is big enough and independent enough to actually do something that could truly harm her. It showed me just how important it is to make sure I get this parenting thing right, because she will be spending more and more time away from her parents while she is at school and extra-curricular activities.

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