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Let me try it, mom!

Durban - It’s a popular phrase among most two and three-year-olds and therefore might sound familiar. These are words usually followed by an exasperated look from mom, as she knows this is going to take twice as long.

Patience, count to 10 and let your child try.

Sometimes the cold hard truth is that talking with our children can be an exercise in forbearance, what with the mundane topics and endless repetitions. Credit: sxc.hu

She isn’t wasting your time; in fact, she is laying the foundation for future competence in whatever task she is attempting. At this age it’s usually getting dressed herself or cutting her own meat – a skill you would want her to be able to master in the near future unless you plan on doing it for her for the foreseeable future.

So how do we cope with this “me do it” attitude. Plan, work the extra time into the schedule and most of all be patient – this could take a while to perfect.

If you are less pressured your child will be as well and will be more than likely to manage the task at hand. Resist taking over, stand back and let him be.

You may give some pointers. For example, if he is trying to get his shoes on you may loosen the laces to help. A tip is to use stickers that feature animals, cut in half. Stick the head in the left shoe and the tail in the right – this will help him get the shoes on the right feet.

Kids are often insistent on choosing their own clothes. For some moms this is quite a difficult thing as they feel the way the toddler dresses is a reflection on them.

Many a time I was tempted to place a sticker on her shirt saying “I dress myself.” Envision my three-year-old daughter insisting on wearing a Barbie costume over her track suit, to school, in winter. I am not sure what ended up happening at school but she didn’t come home looking like that. Needless to say I almost wanted to hide when I dropped her off. In reality I was just not up to the struggle of convincing her it was not a good idea.

Choose your battles at this stage in their lives.

The toddler who wants to do things by herself will soon master the skills required, making your life so much easier and boosting her self-esteem.

Tips on helping them master the skills:

Have fun, and remember: this too will pass. - The Mercury

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