Spatial Awareness

“WHAT IS GOING ON HERE?!?!!” bellowed my husband Saturday morning at the breakfast table after our son, like a sack of potatoes, fell out of his chair smacking head first to the floor for the second time in less than one minute. It’s been happening all week in some form or another. Of all the lessons we teach our kids about life Spatial Awareness is my least favorite.

Our kids are constantly running into walls, falling off chairs and smacking head first into doorways because they have not developed spatial awareness yet. Last week was a record for injuries at our house. While I stutter-scream warnings as one son runs as fast as he can with a huge smile across his face looking backwards the whole time, only to smash into the swing set, my other son is pushing the baby swing as hard as he can only to let it come back and nail him on the cheek bone. One day I made a game out of finding all the sippy cups around the house and as my daughter charges up the stairs she trips on the steps and splits her chin open. We took them to Chick-fil-A for dinner Saturday night and as my son runs to the play room he misses the door completely and splats onto the glass beside it resulting in a matching nugget on his face.

“Look where you’re going.” “Sweetheart you have to pay attention to where the walls are.” “You’re on a chair, you can’t just lean off the side.” “When you run you have to keep your eyes in front of you.” “Try to pay attention to where your fingers are.” All are phrases I’ve said too many times to count. Maybe I’m going about this wrong, but I realized last week that as an adult I take for granted the hard-learned lessons of spatial awareness. Toddlers are in the thick of it. They have the ability to move fast but haven’t yet combined the thinking-it-through part. It’s frustrating as a parent to watch them senselessly get hurt. Padded room anyone?

This is how they learn though. And as long as I have removed real safety hazards, invested in the Bandaid company and have lots of snacks on hand I can handle it. Because I know one day they will be older, facing other challenges, and I’ll be wishing back the days when a bandaid and a snack could defuse the situation.

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