Five signs you’re at risk of becoming a helicopter parent.
Little ones genuinely require a lot of attention and assistance—they need your help eating, bathing, changing clothes and even getting to sleep. But there are times that you can be a bit more hands-off—and if you start letting your baby explore and learn on her own now, you may be less tempted to accompany her on her first job interview when she graduates college.
1. Landing pad
Every time your tiny toddler lets go of the coffee table to take a timid first step, you offer your hand (which she grabs immediately), so she doesn’t tumble over. Stay grounded: As long as you’ve cleared the area of anything she could fall and hurt herself on, remember that she can’t learn to walk unless you let her try.
2. Air traffic control
Your sweet cherub is down for a nap and sound asleep—but you refuse to let the screen on the video monitor switch to power-save mode. Instead you keep a constant watch in case she makes a peep. Stay grounded: Don’t you have a few hours worth of Instagrams to catch up on (or maybe even a nap to take yourself)?
3. Co-pilot takeover
Your doting partner has generously offered to handle the bedtime routine, so you can enjoy a leisurely soak in the tub. But by the time you draw a bath, lay out pajamas and select a book—for baby—you barely have the energy to do the same for yourself. Stay grounded: Your partner has it under control—trust him.
4. Rescue mission
Your chubby-fingered babe has tried three times to get the Cheerio in her mouth but hasn’t quite made contact, so you swoop in and deposit it inside her gummy grin. Stay grounded: Chances are she just needs a little more practice to perfect her pincer grasp. Let her try again (and again) on her own. She’ll be so proud when she finally gets it, and you will, too.
5. Take flight
You’ve handed your tot off to the sitter, so you and your partner can embark on an overdue date night, but instead of heading out the door, you reach over to wipe baby’s drool, straighten the stack of spare burp cloths and rattle off in-depth directions on how to warm the bottles. Stay grounded: Just go already!