In writing this post and sharing photos with you I am hoping to inspire you to just say YES.
YES you can climb by yourself (under 1yr)
YES you can stand at the top of the stairs and climb down yourself (1yr old)
YES you can taste the paint (18mths).
YES you can explore rocky lookout on your own (18mths)
YES you can wear your party dress on a bike ride and go through the huge muddy puddle (2yrs)
YES you can climb up to where your Daddy is on a 6ft high mezzanine with no boundaries around it (this one had me pooing my pants!) (2.5yrs)
YES you can climb under Daddy's car in the puddle (2.5yrs)
I believe that my saying YES sometimes it shows that I trust her and I am allowing her confidence to really develop. It also doesn't devalue "no" and "stop", I use these in serious situations and I always tell her what I expect of her when we are out. She also asks me now if it's okay for her to do something "Mummy can I go in the water?", "Mummy can I touch the bird?" My heart always swells with pride when she does this.
Before we go for walks I say to her "what do you do if Mummy says stop?" and she will show me how she stops. If we have to cross the highway I explain to her that I have to carry her bike and hold her hand crossing the road. Sometimes this results in me holding a screaming toddler and a bike whilst crossing the road BUT she knows the rules.
I don't know if this works for all kids but it really works for us. I realise my next child will probably be a terror who doesn't listen and runs onto the road but for now I like this delusional state where it's my parenting and trust of Miss S that have helped form her this way. Don't tell me otherwise!
If you are looking for some more inspiration I would recommend visiting one of my favourite sites for ideas - Play at Home Mum.
So hopefully you can draw some inspiration from this, does it really matter if your child's party dress gets some mud on it? Share your moments with me! I want to hear all about them!
FYI - I am always always always close by and supervising. Yes she has hurt herself, but she has learnt from that too.