Children are like super-absorbent sponges. Think about how your “mini me” talks, walks, thinks and even smiles. They remind us of ourselves or others whom they may be in contact with frequently.
While this may mean that we have to watch what we say or how we act in front of them, at times, it also offers us powerful, incidental teaching opportunities. Dr. Vanessa von Auer of VA Psychology Center offers a few simple steps to get your little one to take care of himself.
For example, show your son how to pull up a blanket and how to throw it off his body, so he can regulate his own temperature. By watching you do it, your child learns what to do and the right way to do it.
NEXT: Give him a go →
Trust him with opportunities of independence and encourage him to complete the tasks independently. For example, although it is advised to brush a child’s teeth up until the age of 8, allow him to brush his teeth “like mommy or daddy” once a day. The deal can be that your son brushes his teeth first before mum or dad do a onceover of his teeth. This way, brushing his teeth becomes a collaborative effort but with him taking the lead.
NEXT: Offer suggestions →
Provide your child with constructive feedback when he has finished the task assigned to him. By entrusting your child with responsibilities, he will learn to believe in his own abilities and gain life skills with confidence.
NEXT: Give praise →
The younger he starts, the more natural it is for him to want to contribute to home life and to taking care of himself. Notice when he takes control over his own routines such as combing his hair, putting on his shoes or tidying up after himself, and praise him for it – not just for completing the task, but for making an effort to do so. This will foster pride and persistence in him, which are handy tools to have as he encounters more complex challenges in life.
NEXT: Demonstrate the task →
From The Finder (Issue 285), September 2017
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