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Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Help Me Do it By Myself


Months ago, it was a daily struggle to get the little guy out of bed, eat his breakfast, change his clothes, brush his teeth and get out the door. Sometimes a two hour ordeal from start to finish!  There were times when I lost my temper and probably frightened the nanny too. The problem was he wouldn't let anyone else help him. I hadn't quite learned the secret of "Teach Me to Do it By Myself"

It just seemed faster if I could just do it all for him! My alternate approach was to be super nice and super sweet talker. He's a very detail-routine driven guy, something as insignificant as not dipping the toothbrush in the cup of water before applying the toothpaste would make him freak out, and
refuse to brush the teeth, which would make me mad and it was just an ugly ordeal to force it.

And then we finally make it out of the house, and getting into the car seat was another issue. He always wanted to climb up himself and do the straps and attach the chest buckle. Sometimes it would just take too long and I would have to "help". That's another trigger point for another fit, and then we would have to start over from the ground up.  One time I even grabbed him under my armpit and shoved him into the seat with the other hand, all the while screaming something mean at the top of my lungs (yah me) while he's kicking and screaming too... all the while, kids and moms at the school bus stop were trying not to stare but somehow I remained clueless that I was supposed to be the cool and calm adult in this situation. It was not my finest moment.

A Switch on Friday the Thirteenth

I even began to question, why do I bother to do this, drag him to Montessori school every morning and make myself late for work (well it's not late if that becomes the regular time I suppose).  Months of this, I really don't have an explanation of how the transition happened, but all of a sudden it wasn't like that anymore. It made me realize, all along he probably just needed to know what would happen next and he had just figured it out!

That little 3.5 y old slowpoke just suddenly decided on his own that he wants to race me to get dressed every morning; he'll even shut the door to his room and demand that no one peeks. He's always been the one to chose his own clothes, but to put everything on all by himself made me so proud!  I had planned to make a routine picture chart, but  never got around to it, and now he's  already figured it out already, including the socks! Anyway he likes to open the door and jump to
attention and proudly show me his complete outfit. yay! I can't  remember when it was that we  stopped fighting about it after breakfast, just one day out of the blue a few weeks ago.  He'll even
brush his own teeth, preparing his own toothpaste. (Occasionally I  still prefer to brush for him to make sure it's done right, especially at night time.) This has phenomenally changed the prep time to leave the house from half hour after breakfast to less than 7 minutes.

Next he has to be reminded to put his shoes and jacket on and "get ready for inspection". Their dad likes to tell them to say, "Ready for Inspection, Sir" when they are in fact ready to go out the door. It's very cute.

I was looking up the topic of "Get Dressed Children Reward Charts" but I found an interesting article about "Routine Charts".  I like that, I don't exactly feel that every task in the morning routine warrants a sticker because I don't want them to to do something just for the sticker, but rather because it is what he is supposed to do next! I found this from another blog, called so I've reposted it here.

I think it would be good to talk about it and customize it a bit and post it upstairs visible in the bathroom or by the door.

I stumbled upon a Pinterest board with an awesome list that a mom put together, of everything a child should do by himself at age 2 to 18, for survival and enjoyment of life (not academic or athletic).  Take a look!

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