A little while back we had a family outing to a very nice beach just North of where we live. It was one nice day in all the terrible rainy weather we had been having, so we thought we better take advantage and do something outside. The grandparents happened to be in town with their trailer and were accompanied with friends visiting from Australia. It was agreed that the beach would make a perfect outting as the kids could play while the adults enjoyed the forest, the ocean, and the view across to the coastal mountains.
At the beach the tide was out and there were lots of kids out on end of the school year field trips so there was lots of fun being had everywhere. It was sunny but the wind was blowing and to me it felt too cold for June but most of the kids didn’t seem to mind and in fact some boys were even in swimming. My little Jada was feeling the cold after a while so Grandma and I took the twins up to the logs at the top of the beach to get warm in the sun. Annika stayed down by the water’s edge playing with her new friends including some girls that were there on a school field trip. They were older then her by a few years but everyone was fine with having her tag along with them. Annika doesn’t seem to ever notice an age difference in anyone and she will play with anyone that is fun and willing to play with her.
As we sat on the logs a good distance from her I suddenly realized that she is not my little preschooler anymore. She is smart and confident, sweet and independent, and ready to take on the world and we must let her try it in her own way. We need to continue to give her small freedoms, like leaving her to play with friends and watch from a distance; she is after all going to Kindergarten in the fall. Any child can benefit from unstructured type play, where the parents stand back and watch, so the children can learn to make their own choices in life, and gain more independence. It is hard to do sometimes, but they need it.