Whenever possible, let reality be the teacher. I recently learned you can't park along the National Mall in Washington, D.C. after 4 p.m. How did I learn that? I got a ticket. We want to prevent our children from experiencing distress but when we protect them from the natural consequences of their choices, we steal their opportunity to learn lessons that stick. If they don't start a school project until the last minute, it's not your deadline to meet. Get out of the way and let life teach.