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13 Responses to The Myth of the Magic Autonomous Age

  1. Lauren  

    I so agree with you, Emily. I got a comment on one of my posts that I should be worried about CPS since I let our toddler experiment with real scissors, with our supervision. Um … yeah. How else do kids learn competence? And, anyway, the real things are so much more interesting and useful than the toys; no wonder they want them. Dull kid scissors can’t cut things!

    I’m very concerned with safety, but I think safety is learned and modeled and ties in with experience. They’re not magically going to know how to be safe with things at 12 or whenever if they’ve never been able to touch or observe them before then.

  2. Amy @ You Shall Go Out with Joy

    Fantastic post with so much to think about. It’s so easy to just get in the habit of always doing something for my son, I need to remember to let / encourage him do things himself sometimes!

  3. Rebekah  

    This is such an *awesome* article. I really needed to read this too. Great encouragement. Thank you!

  4. Wendylori

    Great article! I really agree that it’s important to watch for a kids readiness signs, since they are all so developmentally unique. We have really enjoyed allowing our 4 year old to play “real” musical instruments and how to properly handle them, and it’s amazing how much more he enjoys this compared to the plastic imitations.

  5. Sheila  

    I read a New Yorker article just the other day called “Why are American kids so spoiled?” I was thinking it would harp on how we love them too much. Instead it talked about how American children can’t tie their shoes, can’t go anywhere on their own, can’t do their homework without help … and I thought, that’s not spoiling, that’s failing to *teach.* You don’t get an independent child just by refusing to tie her shoes. You have to TAKE THE TIME to teach her to tie them … and TAKE THE TIME to let her tie them each time. Naturally American kids never learn to tie their shoes if every time they try, in swoops Mom saying “Come on, we’re in a hurry, I’ll just tie them for you.” Step by step, we teach our children to be ready to do things on their own — and because we’ve been with them the whole way, we can tell when they’re ready.

  6. joy

    Great thoughts! When we have a group of experts telling us what to do for every little child rearing decision we tend to turn and micromanage the kids hoovering over rather than allowing some natural just figuring it out to take place…

  7. Melissa P  

    So true! One of my children had real non-power tools in her pre-k..hammer, nails, screwdrivers and screws. It was fine bc there were adults nearby to help and observe. As the children grew and learned, they were able to have less supervision and instruction. I would have preferred they do this with me present rather than the teacher and tons of other kids BUT I was working then so what can you do? We do go to the Home Depot kids clinics with my 2 yr old and my older girls so I guess all is well. My girls were just helping me put together a bookshelf today , again no power tools but we used hammer, nails and screwdriver. They did great and are 7 and 9 yrs old. We just need to know about our kids. They all develop differently and will at times need us and at times be fine without us. PS I am hoping to afford some new tools like a drill and saw so we can ALL get our hands dirty and build some cool stuff!

    • Emily Bartnikowski  

      Ohhh -I’d forgotten about the Home Depot workshops! I need to add those to my list of summer activities! Thanks!

      And I’m so glad your girls feel confident and capable – next thing you know, they’ll be building treehouses 😉