I have been teaching my son how to swim recently and I was thinking about how this is a new skill for him, and like any new skill, it takes practice and consistency. When we take time off, he is always a little rusty to start, which is why consistency is so important.
One of the first skills I taught him was how to float. He needs to learn how to float before he can learn to kick or pull and put the whole stroke together. I started off by giving him more support, holding him afloat, and as time went by, I scaffolded support, until he was able to float on his own. Then, we moved to the next focus skill until it was mastered.
I am his support and teacher, giving him tools and strategies he can use to learn how to swim on his own. However, I can not swim for him in order for him to learn to swim. I can guide, coach, and encourage him, but ultimately, he needs to learn the skill himself.
When teaching our children a new skill, we break it down in steps, and slowly wean support, until they are able to do the skill independently. This is the same when teaching a baby or child to sleep.
Learning to sleep is a skill. It is one of the most important skills your baby or child will learn to promote cognitive and physical growth. We can give our children the tools and strategies they need to fall asleep, but in the end, it is their job to learn the skill.
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