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A major part of growing up is learning how to take care of yourself. For your little one, that can mean learning how to complete tasks like tying their shoes or cleaning up their toys without the help of an adult. To be honest, as parents, it can be difficult to let go and allow your little one to navigate through this part of growing up. When you are rushing out the house in the morning, it can seem like a totally unnecessary inconvenience to allow your 5 year old to spend 10 minutes trying to zip up their own coat and put on their own gloves. It is a frustrating process for your child just as it is for you. But, small children need to refine their fine motor skills which happens by zipping up their coats on their own, tying their own shoes, and picking up those teeny tiny deadly legos that are carpeting your living room floor. Here are a few tips on how to push through the frustration and encourage your little one to do more on their own.
Make Tasks Fun
It can be hard to convince your little one to put away the flood of toys that they pulled out by the time the end of the day rolls around. Somehow, it’s not as fun putting things away as it is tossing them on the floor. It is important, however, to not give in and put all of the toys away for them. Instead, encourage them through play. Make it a contest to see if they can put their toys away faster than they did the day before. Play music while your little one cleans to pump them up. It will make the mundane task a more tolerable one.
Allot More Time
A major part of giving your little one the space to do things on their own without feeling that urge to jump in and help is time. When it’s 30 minutes pass bedtime and your son still has to brush his teeth and wash his face, it’s much easier to do it yourself. Keep an eye on the time and give yourself an extra 15 minutes so that your little one can take their time completing tasks. If your daughter is learning how to zip up her own coat, which is much more difficult for a 4 year old than it is for an adult, don’t wait until you need to be out the door to let her try. That’s the recipe for a dual meltdown.
Encourage Through Their Whining
Young children communicate through talking, crying, and whining. Even if they know how to get undress at the end of the day and put their night clothes on without your help, they will still whine for your assistance. Stay the course and encourage them even though they are whining for help. If you know that they have the ability to do it on their own, just keep reminding them to take their time and just do it. Eventually the whining will cease and they will be willing to try more tasks.
Patience Is Key
You and your little one are going through a learning phase that will be full of it’s own ups and downs. It is important to realize that this will not last forever and the things that you teach your little one now will act as an important foundation as they grow up. Take your time and foster patience for yourself and your little one as they learn to take care of themselves.