Teach Me How to do it Myself

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doitmyselfLet your child dress herself as soon as she shows an interest in doing so.  She will probably be struggling, but resist the impulse to jump in and either help or do it for her.  You should also resist the impulse to ‘correct’ what she has done.  When you step in to change anything that your child has done, she perceives it as a criticism and this may dampen her enthusiasm to try to do it again.  Does it really matter if she is wearing mismatched socks or a back-to-front sweater?  Don’t rob her of the joy of a new accomplishment by inferring that it wasn’t done ‘properly.’

You can make this easier by choosing easily managed clothing.  For example, elastic waists, Velcro fastenings, slip-on shoes.  Jeans, with their belts, buttons and zippers are a nightmare for a child who is desperate to “go.”

You can do lots of ‘incidental teaching’ with your child.  Brush your teeth together, wash your hands together, brush your hair together.  When you are aware that your child is watching you do something, do it very slowly and deliberately so that your child can see each step clearly.  It won’t seem exaggerated or unnatural to them, they will just be happy to have seen clearly how to do something.

Invite your child to help prepare and clean up after meals.  We have two-year-olds who can peel and slice carrots, juice oranges, set tables and wash dishes.  Show your child how to take his plate and cutlery to the sink after a meal.  Invite your child to dry dishes and put them away.

These very simple tasks which adults consider chores, are invaluable esteem-builders for your young child and provide opportunities for the two of you to connect doing meaningful, shared work.

Your child enjoys when you get down on the floor and play with them and their toys, but the real joy is when you include them in what you consider important work which allows them to be meaningful contributors to their family.


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