How Giving an Opportunity for Independence Lead to Much More
Just a few weeks ago my daughter would kick and scream whenever it came time to get her dressed. The mornings before school were filled with wailing tantrums and there were only three or four pairs of pants she’d even accept.
On Monday however, to try something new we laid out her clothes and said “Go and see if you can dress herself.” She did it.
She dressed herself. There was no screaming. There were no tantrums.
She put on all the layers, even socks which were always a battle. The sweater over a shirt where the sleeves sometimes bunched up or didn’t feel quite right were all on.
She came out of her room smiling. She was so proud of herself. This task that had been a battle for the last few years was gone, but what came next was really encouraging. No, more than that, it was a relief. A weight off our shoulders that mornings might actually get a little easier.
On Tuesday it happened again and then today, Wednesday once more. She put on her gloves before school, by herself. Let that just sink in for a moment. Her gloves that she’d rather forego and suffer frozen little fingers while playing in the rain or snow, she put on.
This morning’s Kindness Advent calendar gave her a mission to do something nice for her teacher, so off she went proudly holding a bag of Hershey’s Kiss Chocolates to present to him as he pulled his wagon of outside toys and tools for the class to play with before they all went inside. Then she asked to pull the wagon into the playground while announcing that she got dressed all by herself. She’s so proud of herself and her new independence.
It all came from one task that used to be a huge brick wall we’d climb over together and she just took it away, making the morning routine easier for everyone, herself included. Now she doesn’t have to scream and cry. She can feel empowered to dress herself and take the next steps as an almost 5 year-old.
Next up is broccoli. Any tips?