I see more growth in a few weeks by making the children in my classroom do things for themselves than anyone would see making these kiddos watch what we are doing for them. For you to fully grasp this you need a huge helping of patience. Yes it’s going to take more time, so make more time for it to happen.
Depending on the age of your child allow for appropriate lengths of time for them to simply struggle. I know that can sound so mean, but just do it. When they ask you to zip their coat say, “You try first” or “I bet you can do it better”. Let them try, let their little brows furrow, let them get a little mad. Often that is just the push they needed to do the task. That frustration immediately flips to total elation! This is something you definitely do not want to miss. That moment when they say “I did it!”
Now I am not talking about independence without limits. Children need limits and choices (all of which you are willing to accept). We are not giving them free reign to do as they please. You are not letting them decide if they are going to have spaghetti or candy for dinner. Instead, you are offering to let them help with the dinner process, serve their own plate, pour their own drink, and eat by themselves. Support them in their efforts. If they make a mess, give them the tools to clean it up and try again.
All kiddos of a certain age (some born this way) all want their independence. They want to pick out their clothes, and help clean, fix, and make things around the house. They want their voice to be heard, just in the same way that we do as adults. Things that we may find boring, is a huge step for a child. Taking the time to let your child do the little things will make your days go smoother and have children that are self-confident and full of pride for their accomplishments.
Letting them do the little things now, is preparing them for the bigger things later. If you always do everything for your child how can you expect them to grow into young adults who are going to make decisions about their future? Let’s put it this way, do you want a child who sets the world on fire and goes down in history doing something great, or a couch potato who relies on you to cook them dinner and do their laundry because they simply never had to learn for themselves? Give them that initial push to start making decision and making things happen. Give them self confidence that they can build on for the rest of their lives. And it all starts with putting that shoe on all by themselves.
Early Literacy Coordinator
Lead Pre-Kindergarten Teacher