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Parents, nannies and day care providers need to allow children to play and explore at their own rate. We can learn more from them if we are on thier level; physically, on the floor and mentally accepting their stage of development instead of forcing our level on them. We need to see what they see and hear what they hear. This gives the parent and caretaker a better advantage for bonding and growing with the child.

We need to eliminate tempations from their lives to give them room to safely explore. This also reduces thier risk for injury or punishment. For example, since infants and toddlers live thier lives on the floor, get on thier level and see what they see. Infants and toddlers are facinated by the smallest objects and they explore these objects by touch and taste.

The infants and toddlers will bond better with those who are on their level, both physically and mentally, and this will lead to more interaction, play and learning from both the child and the adult. Adults need to open thier minds to a new way of thinking that the child can teach us if we pay attention. We need to direct thier focus to age appropriate activities and be involed in each step.

Infants learn from direct interactions such as talking, being held, seeing toys, grabbing toys and learning to do the basics such as roll over, hold thier heads up and crawl. They first learn that the world is safe, from the direct bonding with parents, and that gives them the freedom and confidence to explore and move on to the next stage. They learn trust and that foundation makes it safe for them to grow. They learn trust later as they play and interact and if they do well, they are praised and if not, they are punished. Consistency in discipline is the key to maintaining that initial trust.

It is a full time job to balance the need for a routine and the need to play and explore and test boundaries. If the child is kept to a rigid schedule, they are not free to grow at thier own pace. If the child is left to make thier own rules and decisions, it is hard to shape their behavior to act polite and get along with others. It is frustrating to walk this fine line each day with a toddler but the results are worth it.

Children are such a gift and we need to look at the overall picture. A parent's goal of a smart, well-mannered, outgoing child comes as the result of small moments during the day: letting them explore and grow at thier own pace, while being there to guide them with consistent love and discipline.