In a recent Washington Post piece by Merete Kropp, a child development and family specialist and mother of three, she suggests that current advice geared toward helicopter parents of high school and college students should also be actively communicated to parents of young children.

“If the goal is for children to successfully manage life after high school without the constant assistance of hovering parents, healthy habits need to be established long before ages 18. Perhaps the ideal time to offer parents suggestions for maintaining healthy relationships with their children is when children enter elementary school.”

She goes on to reference examples of parents stepping back and allowing their children to master skills or defuse a situation – even when it would be easier to step in and do it.

“When adults step back and give young children time to identify and solve problems, they provide the opportunity for children to learn and develop important skills such as self-regulation, empathy, problem-solving, creativity, tenacity, perseverance and patience.”

In the article, she outlines five suggestions to minimize over-parenting including listening to children so they have the opportunity to develop their own point of view, and asking children what they could do to solve a problem, to encourage them to come up with their own solutions first.

Read the full article on the Washington Post website.