Is Your Child More Independent at School than at home?

How Does Effective Learning Help You in Achieving Your Goals?

By Ms.Aakanksha M Chandan

Do you worry that your 3-4 year-old child has a split personality. At school, he/she finishes his/her meal, puts on shoes, follows all instructions, arranges toys after play and is entirely self-sufficient during washroom visits. But at home, your child needs you for smallest of tasks, calls you for every washroom visit and expects you to feed him/her.

Do their teachers know any secret which you are not aware of?

While kids of their age group still need plenty of parental help, as per the preschool experts - kids are typically able to do more than many of us can think of. Here's how you can encourage them:

Encourage them to do things for themselves, resist doing things for them :
At school students are encouraged to eat their meals on their own, keep away plates at right plates, tie their shoes, pack their bags etc. At home ask them:

  • Do you want me to help you dress up or can you do it yourself?
  • Would you like to eat on your own?
  • Why don’t you put your plate in sink today and bring some water for me?
Such words work like magic. Children always want to explore new things and do things for themselves. They love to be independent.

Resist redoing things done by your child, at least in front of them :
If your child keeps things at wrong place while cleaning the room or spreads the bed sheet untidily while making his/ her bed, show appreciation and resist redoing it. If they see you redoing the work, it may discourage them.

Assign them various age, time and space appropriate tasks :
Putting your child in charge of a regular, simple task will build his/her confidence and sense of competency. A child who is entrusted to water the plants or empty the clothes dryer is likely to believe he/she can also get dressed himself/herself or pour his/her own cereal. Just be sure the chore you assign is manageable and that it's real work, not busywork, since even preschoolers know the difference. The aim is to make your child feel like a capable, contributing member of the family.

Avoid putting conditions/ No ifs :
Make requests in language that assumes cooperation. "If you finish putting away your crayons, we can go to the park," suggests that perhaps your child won't clean up his crayons. Try instead: "When you put your crayons away, we'll go to the park."

Warn of transitions :
If your child shows tantrums whenever you announce it's time to switch gears --whether that means shutting off the TV, stopping play to come and eat, or leaving a friend's house -- it might be because you have not given enough advance notice. At school, children are informed when transitions are coming so they have time to finish whatever they're doing. If you planning to serve meal at 7:30 a.m., warn your child at 7:15 that he/she has five more minutes to play, then will have to stop to put his/ her toys away. Set a timer so he/she knows when the time is up.

Let the children resolve minor squabbles :
Instead of jumping in to settle disputes, stand back and let him/her work it out (unless they're hitting each other). You won't always be there to rescue your child.

Distract :
If your child is jumping on the couch or causing disturbance in any way, distract him/ her by asking if he/she'd like to draw a picture or read a short story together. Distraction works better then shouting or punishment.

Prioritize play :
It is observed that kids today are less able to play imaginatively than kids of a decade or two ago. Most of their day is structured in supervised activities. The antidote is: Get comfortable saying "Go play whatever you want." It's not your job to see that your child is entertained 24/7. Let him/her get a little bored. But make sure he/she has items like dress-up clothes, paint and paper, a big cardboard box, and play dough to be busy.

Involve the child in righting their wrongs :
If you find him/ her colouring on the walls, have him/her help wash it off. If he/she knocks over a playmate's block tower, ask him/her to help rebuild it.

Never delay discipline :
If you must reprimand your child, do so when you see him/ her misbehaving, advises Expert. "Sometimes we will hear parents say, 'Wait until we get home ... ,' but by the time you're home, your child has forgotten the incident." Similarly, canceling Saturday's zoo trip because of Thursday's tantrum won't prevent future outbursts; it will just feel like random, undeserved punishment to your child.

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