Learning independence is not about perfection

Every parent wants to send their child to school looking well groomed. If I did my daughter’s hair every day it would look like the photo on the left.

But my five year old daughter has started tying up her own hair and it looks like the photo on the right. Since this picture was taken, she’s steadily improved, even styling it with multiple rubber bands.

But even still there are often missed strands or poufs and bumps. The perfectionist in me wants to take over but I hold back because learning independence is not about perfection.

It is about growth, determination and pride in doing something by one’s self. Clearly I won’t be around to always do her hair so this is a practical skill she needs to learn. It is always amazing to me how much more motivated a child becomes when she is tasked with taking care of her own responsibilities. In this case, my daughter witnessed her own learning curve, from brushing her own hair, learning how to wear headbands, how to wear pins and barrettes and now tying and braiding. As corny as it sounds, the path towards independence is not always paved with momentous milestones, in fact it is a road built from single steps.