Thursday, March 26, 2009

Fostering Independence

I have been focusing on helping Eliza to become more independent. Lately, it seems that she really wants to start doing things on her own. She discovered that she can turn the water on and off in the tub, take off and put on her own clothes, and open various doors, containers & cabinets. Pete questioned me on why I encourage her to do so much independently. He loves to play devil's advocate. His argument is that she is a kid and should be a kid. I totally agree with his statement. However,I think that kids are very capable and should be encouraged to do as much as they can independently. I don't think they should be forced to do things, but if they desire to do something it should be an option. I would never say to Eliza that she couldn't do something because she was too little- unless of course I felt it was dangerous. I believe that kids feel proud when they can do something without help. I also think they also really love to help out and imitate what they see adults doing.
* I told my husband he is just lazy. (which he really isn't!) Honestly, it is harder to be patient and let kids do things on their own. It is easier to just do it yourself-but they really don't learn anything that way.

Things we have been working on...

Drinking out of a Glass
I have been helping Eliza to drink out of a glass and not a sippy cup. She still gets her sippy, but she also has a glass available to her at meals. It is a very tiny glass that is E sized and perfect for a toddler's small hands. Has she spilled her drink? You betcha! A few time she spilled the contents of the glass down her shirt. She has quickly learned how NOT to spill it when drinking. She holds it with two hands and takes tiny sips. Sometimes she dips her hand in the water. I guess she can't resist! She also dunked her cookie in the water. A future Oreo dunker?

When I taught K the kids loved, loved., loved to clean. They would sweep at the drop of a hat. They also wanted to use the real sweeper and NOT the fake toy sweeper. They loved to wipe down the tables after messy craft activities. They showed more excitement about cleaning then about any other classroom activity I did. Eliza is also learning to help take care of our house. She has a little pink microfiber dust cloth she uses for dusting, a tiny little broom for sweeping and her own cellulose sponges to use for dish washing. Most recently we bought a carpet sweeper thingy that adjusts to E's size. Here she is in action! Go, E, Go!

Setting the Table
Eliza sets her table for each meal. She uses the placement to help with her setting. She knows the names for everything and she also knows the ASL signs. All of the materials are available to her in a low cabinet. The reason she looks miserable is because she is sitting with a set table and I am taking pictures and not dishing out her lunch. She is very serious about eating.

Here is her cabinet.

and that is all for know because I need to go make some turkey meatballs before little miss sunshine wakes up from her nap!


Lori said...

fostering independence is such an important skill for children. Children who are secure in their independence tend to do better in school and later dealing with peer pressure. It will also help you tremendously when your new itty bitty is here. Just think of all the things that E will be able to do for herself as well as the things she will be able to help you and the new baby with too

Andrea said...

I's a great idea to help her to be independent! And definitely DOES take more patience, but they've gotta learn somehow! :)

Marni's Organized Mess said...

I agree with you, it's so much easier to do it yourself, but they won't learn anything and in the long run, it's actually easier to put out that hard work now.

Good for you! Great list of 'chores' and responsibility for her age. :-)

Marcy said...

The thing is, we adults tend to think of doing these things for ourselves as "work" and thus, tedious and boring. Kids, however, see it as very cool, fun, and an aid in their development (ok they may not see the last one, but it's true). Not to mention that most kids are much happier doing things successfully for themselves.

It is so cool seeing E doing these things, and gives me inspiration to try these sots of things with D. I've been working on making him more involved in the process of un/dressing and already he extends arms or lifts up his legs on command in order to get shirts and pants on and off, which is exciting. =)

Alicia said...

What a great thing you are teaching her at a perfect age! This is going to make her so independent and a strong woman when she get's older. LOVE the pictures!

CC said...

You are SUCH the teacher with your placemat and all!

and yeah for knowing all the signs!!

We started making our kids put away the non-sharp utensils in the drawer (sorting by shape/type) around this age. Something to think about for chores.

La Mama Naturale' said...

We're doing the same with T- he loves to help us do little random things and we love that he enjoys it. He's "our big helper"! I think it's important to them and they don't feel so left out. I LOVE that placemat idea...still need to do that for him. You're a great mama and teacher to E!

Amber said...

Kaelin just LOVES to clean too! She calls it "keen-ing"