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Can you do it please Mummy?

You probably do it subconsciously, especially if you are running around trying to get out the door on time...I know I have!  It’s just easier, quicker to get your child’s coat and shoes on for them.  However, take a step back, and, as you are now not in a rush and are reading this blog, reflect on what you are actually teaching your child by doing things for her.  I know from parenting my own four year old he likes to take his time and will often ask me to help him dress.  It is so tempting to just do it for them sometimes, but, in preparation for school, perhaps begin allowing more time (eg. set your alarm clock earlier in the morning) so your child can practise tasks, such as getting dressed, herself.

Independence is a skill your child will need when she starts school.  Some classes have 30 children in them with sometimes only two adult members of staff.  Picture, for a moment, a Reception PE lesson.  No, hang on...the preparation for a PE lesson!  In the early days teachers spend more time allowing children to dress themselves into their PE kits than they do actually doing PE!  So, encouraging your child to dress herself is one very important and useful skill that will benefit her (and everybody!) at school.

So, there are the practical ways that you can encourage independence in your child.  I would also try to assist your child in her development of self-initiative.  Again, it is all too easy just to TELL your child what to do.  Of course this is needed sometimes.  However, try sometimes to give her the reigns, steering her own decision-making.  This can be done, fairly easily, by using more open-ended questions.  For example, instead of saying “Please could you put this coat on because it is raining”, try asking “Which coat are you going to wear today? Why have you chosen that one?”  This type of questioning will encourage children to consider their own actions. 

By using careful questioning, you are helping your child become more independent but you are also helping her take ownership and responsibility for her decisions and actions.  This is a valuable skill she will carry with her not only through school, but through life. 

For more ideas, information and personalised plans regarding helping your child help herself please get in touch.

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