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  • Self Help Skills

    I need advice on how to best help a 4 year old with some basic self help skills. He’s a bright boy but he is unable to do things like put on his shoes, pull up his pants, make his cot, wipe his bottom, and put on his coat. He won’t even try most of the time. He cries when I ask him to put on his shoes and screams “ I can’t do it!” I realize he is very immature emotionally and that he is babied at home ( older brother is 13) but he’s very capable of doing these things himself. I don’t mind helping a child who is struggling with a task but when he flat out refuses to try I don’t know what else to do but give in. I’m by myself most of the time and I can’t take him out to talk in the hall when he throws a fit. I even ask a classmate to help him sometimes so he can see that it can be done or offer a reward “whoever makes their cot by themselves can put a marble in the Happy Jar” but these don’t work. I’ve spoken to mom and dad and they say he has a problem with this at home and they are working on it.
    Anyone else have a child who struggles in this area? How did you work through it? Thanks.

  • #2
    I had a similar situation previously. Dcb was five and an only child. The doctor had to tell Mom at his appointment that he should be able to do these things at his age and to take extra time and not give in, because it was important for his development. Mom didn't want to take extra time. She just did it for him. Plus, she wanted to keep her baby.

    I have a similar situation currently too. The second Mom or Dad show up to pick up current dcb (4 yo almost 5) he instantly needs all eyes on him and needs help with everything. He wants to be carried too. It's very frustrating. There are some things that I think he truly doesn't comprehend like identifying numbers and letters. No matter what I do he just doesn't get it. Other things he needs help with when Dad shows up he does for me when Dad isn't there, and then he also turns into an instawhiner. Mom had read "What if it's the last time you carry them, or help them with their coat, etc." So she has a fear of it being her last time doing something for him. 🙄

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    • #3
      I have this situation now with a set of siblings. I’m pretty sure my DCM read the same thing TwinMama’s parent read or she enjoys being “needed” 🙄

      DCB3.5 is “potty trained” but can’t pull up his pants on his own or wash his hands. When he’s done going to the bathroom, he looks at me with a blank stare, like “what do I do now?” DCB2 can’t put his own shoes on. No matter how many times I/DH have shown him, he says “I can’t do it.” He doesn’t even try some days. He’s the last one in the group that can’t do this himself.

      Truthfully, I pull up DCB3.5’s pants because I don’t have time to wait on him/nor do I want him to walk out of the bathroom without pants on. I also wash his hands for him/show him to remind him how it’s done because I think it’s gross. However, DCB2 has to sit in the kitchen away from any distractions and put his shoes on himself. If he does, I praise him. If he doesn’t and mom or dad arrive, then they do it for him. If we’re going outside, he’ll have to come out with us and do it there or miss out on recess.

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      • #4
        I give parents self help skills checklists for age, highlight areas that need work and make it part of our curriculum goals for each individual child (Improvement, Same, Regression).
        Last edited by Cat Herder; 4 days ago.

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