As a teacher, I realized that a big part of my job was sitting back and just watching. As I've said before, I always viewed myself as a facilitator of the learning process than the all knowing teacher. When you look at yourself in this light you learn that in order to help the children you have to step back and let them figure things out on their own, and step in when frustration ensues. You begin to step back and see where children are in order to truly know in which direction to lead them to next. If you don't know where the children are at, then you don't know where they need to go or what they need to do to get there. When you step back and watch, listen and observe, you can figure out what's next.
I find myself doing this a lot at home. I step back and watch. I watch the interactions between Colby and Blake. I watch them learning on their own. I like to watch them think, problem solve and play. There are times when I think I need to step in and help out, and yes... sometimes I do. But, there are also times where I think I need to help, but I don't and I watch... I watch my sons figure out how to solve things on their own.
If I didn't step back and watch Blake playing on the computer, I may never have figured out that he can identify the letters of the alphabet. If I didn't step back, I wouldn't have seen Colby crawl up and over the rungs of the chair (the bottom ones). I would never have seen Blake make puzzles on his own. I would never known that Colby can pick up the balls and put them onto the ramp of this crawl and cruise.
Sometimes we assume that children can or can't do something because of the level we expect them to learn at, but when you stop assuming what they can or can't do, and let them show you what they can do you may be amazed at what they already know. You may be shocked at how they think about things. You maybe impressed at the thought process that goes on in the minds of children.