Learning to let my kids lead

The other day my son was playing with one of his favorite toys, his “choo choo” as he calls it. He was trying to reattach the cars to the engine hook. I sat next to him watching and almost offered my help, but instead I made myself wait a moment to see if he could do it on his own. Sure enough, after just a few moments of trial and error, he connected it by himself, and I saw a split-second look of satisfaction at his job well done. I have a tendency to want to jump in and help when my kids get stuck on something, instead of waiting to see if he or she can work it out on his or her own.


I don’t know if there is anything quite as rewarding as watching my child learn something new. Lately I’ve been trying to take a good hard look at the way I parent, and I’m trying to be more aware of the things I say, how I say it, and the things I do. My kids are at a crucial age. They’re like pliable little pieces of play-dough and I don’t want to mess them up.

I’ve been trying the same “wait and watch” approach with my daughter. Since we have our Disney trip coming up this weekend, I wanted to come up with a fun surprise reveal the morning we leave. Part of the reveal includes a letter that says “We are going to…” and then a photo on the next page with a picture of Disney World. Since she couldn’t read those words yet I decided now was a good time to practice some sight words.

To be honest I don’t know anything about reading strategy. I know someday my kids will learn how to read when they’re ready. It’ll come together. I’ve realized there’s no point in being competitive about it, the important thing is I’m there to guide them along the way when they’re excited and ready.

I wrote down those four words, and a handful more to throw her off. I was so surprised when she picked them up in one afternoon. And she pulls them out to practice every day, even asking me to write down more words she can memorize and add to her sentences. When I notice her stumbling or searching for a word I want to jump in and help her out, but I’ve told myself to back off and let her work until she asks for help.

Biracial family

There have been too many times where I’ve stressed about doing the right things. Using the right techniques and toys to help my kids become the best they can be. But as I get the hang of this motherhood thing I’ve realized it’s not so much about the specifics as much as it’s about caring, listening and guiding when needed.

It’s about reading together, and playing together. It’s about finding ways to learn in everything we do, with toys or random objects around the house. It’s about having fun, and developing a love for learning.

I’ve had the wonderful opportunity to act as a Fisher-Price Insider for the last several months, learn about the company, what they stand for, see behind-the-scenes of all the thought, work and love that goes into the toys we love. I’ve given some advice to other parents and have enjoyed sharing in the joy and struggles with you all.

Smart Stages Train

Although I’ll still be here blogging here for, well, hopefully a long, long time. My time as a Fisher-Price Insider is coming to an end. If you missed some you can read all about my posts here, and continue to reach out with your questions using the hashtag #FPInsiders. As a farewell we’d like to offer a giveaway for a Smart-Stages Train like the one my son loves pictured above, or a 3 in 1 Bounce, Stride and Ride Elephant, just leave a comment letting me know which one you’d like.

A big thanks to Fisher-Price for sponsoring this giveaway. This post is a part of a partnership with Fisher-Price as an FP Insider. All opinions expressed are my own.FP insiders logo

Similar Posts


  1. It’s so hard not to jump in and help. Definitely a balance to learn, and one I practice daily with my two kids.

    I’ve enjoyed your FP Insider time. You have a great way of weaving in your stories. Thanks for the giveaway. I think that Smart Stages Train could find a good home at my house 🙂

  2. Thanks so much for your writing about your experiences. My daughter is a little younger then your daughter and I’m always looking for ways to develop that amazing brain of hers! I’d love the train for my kiddos!

  3. I’m searching for toys for my 9 month old. I’d love the train! I’ll be sure to check out the fisher price website for more now.

  4. I love watching my kids figure things out! It’s so satisfying! The stride and ride elephant looks like a blast!

  5. The train would be a big win in this house! I have been trying to let my kids do things themselves lately, too. My older son with reading, and my younger son with the motor skills like connecting train cars or stacking blocks. It isn’t easy, but that look of satisfaction is awesome, indeed. It’s such a fine line, though, because it’s easy for them to get frustrated. I see that in my older son with reading. Sometimes I make him sound them out, sometimes I help him out just to keep the momentum. Such a challenge, this parenting gig.

  6. Annabelle would love that train (as in sure her brothers would!). And I love this. Part of the reason I love reading your log is because having kids the same age, we go through a lot of similar things… I’ve been slowly coming to this realization too. It’s hardto see them struggle but you are so right. It’s more about being there to help as opposed to controlling everyhing. Amen!! (And thanks for the reading idea… Totally stealing that to work on sight words with dustin!)

  7. I totally needed this post! I was thinking about how I jump in too soon to help my daughter instead of letting her work things out on her own. I feel that this has really affected her self confidence.

    Thanks for the opportunity to win! She got the train for her first birthday 7 months ago, so I would love the elephant! We are expecting our second child in a month do hopefully it will keep her busy while I take care of a newborn.

  8. Now that we have older kiddos in the house as well as babies, it’s easier to see when we are doing too much for them or not giving them the opportunity to figure things out on their own. We have trouble with that for our 13 year old all the way down to our 8 month old twins. Figuring out a balance is important and always a step towards learning something new 🙂

    Our littles would totally enjoy playing with the elephant bouncer. I can’t get them to stop bouncing, lol!
    Thanks for the opportunity to win 🙂

  9. I’d love the train!!! I have lots of smaller cousins and friends with children and hopefully I’ll have my own but I’d love this to keep at my apt so the little ones aren’t bored when they come over 🙂

    Thanks for being a cool FP Insider!

  10. I can imagine how hard that would be to not get in there and help with every problem that arises. I’m a nanny and work with kids on a daily basis while finishing up my degree in child development and I still fail at that. It’s a process but one that’s on going and there’s always time for growing. I don’t have kids myself but I promise I’m consistently spending my last on my 5- soon to be 6- Godkids ans for families that I nanny for. I’d adore the elephant toy for a little special one that turns 1 in March- I’ve been w him since he was two weeks old- and his family in general for nearly 3 yrs. love your blog and insights.

  11. Your blog has been wonderful to read as a become a new mother. It’s scary, but I love how you said it’s all worth it. The train would be amazing for the little ones development.

  12. I would love to win the 3 in 1 Bounce Stride and Ride Elephant for my grandson. His birthday is coming up and this would be perfect for him.
    Thank you so much for the great giveaway.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *