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How can I foster independence in my 3yo?

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 

My just turned 3yoDD is extremely dependent.  There are some things that I do for her that I wish she would learn to do herself.  I think she's old enough.  Or am I way off?

 

-Wipe her own nose when she sneezes.  She sneezes and flips out and comes running crying and screaming that I need to get the boogers off NOW.  It's the worst at night when she sneezes because I'm usually nursing my little one to sleep when she does it (timing always works that way, haha). 

-Get on the potty by herself.  My back has been KILLING me and it really hurts to lift 30lbs on and off of a toilet numerous times a day.  Having a step stool by the toilet doesn't help.  She has no self confidence and tells me that she can't and will argue/whine/etc with me.  If she's gotta go to the bathroom, I don't really want to waste time arguing over it if ykwim!

-Climbing into her car seat.  She won't.  She is convinced that she can't (but she can do similar physical activities so I know she can) and she won't.  It's really hard to lift her into her seat with another kiddo in my arms.

 

There are a couple of other things. but these stuck at as they are the ones that cause me the most problems.

Shouldn't she be doing this by now? Am I way off?  When should this be expected of a child? 

post #2 of 15

Maybe start by encouraging her to do smaller things on her own first. Like when she comes up to you and says "I can't do such and such" ... instead of immediately helping her Actively Listen,  repeat what she has said. Act interested. But let her try again on her own. Oftentimes they don't want help, they just want sympathy.

And then praise her like crazy when she does do said thing herself. She'll feel so big and proud, maybe she'll want to do the potty or carseat by herself!

post #3 of 15

I agree with bcblondie, encourage her in other, small areas and you will see the confidence spill over.

 

I see you have a cat, can she feed it? Give her a small container with just the right amount of food in it for one feeding and she can dump it in the bowl. This is work for you I know, but she will feel so important to the family and it's a great first job for that age. It can always be her job. Perhaps you can set up several empty jam jars ahead of time and always keep on in a specific place. She can reach it and open it and dump it all on her own.

 

I think 3 is a hard age because they want to do things, and can, but you have to work out all the tiny steps for them to make it successful for them.

 

Other things she could do: sweep with a small dustpan and hand broom (tape a square on the floor with painters tape and she can sweep into it), fold napkins or washcloths, wash dishes in the sink, sort laundry, transfer loads from washer to dryer. 

 

You'll have to show her how and "train" her, show her very slowly and specifically and then step back and she will surprise you. Check out Montessori for more ideas. 3 year olds can surprise you with their capabilities.

 

This will all build confidence that will cross over into the larger things you are talking about. 

Perhaps a step stool on the floor of the car?

Perhaps you tell her your back is hurting and you need her help in the toilet on/off part? I know lots of times I don't tell my kids exactly what I am thinking.

Perhaps give her a "lesson" on wiping her own nose? Cute tissue holder? Anything to make it attractive to her.

 

You should expect a lot from children and let them rise to the occasion!

post #4 of 15

my daughter responds well to over the top "being impressed" on my part. i drop my jaw, wide eyes, even slap my hand to my heart, say "wow" really loud. don't know if that would work for yours, but mine eats it up. now i can just say, "impress me," or "i'm not impressed" and she will respond accordingly.

post #5 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by Suki Lu View Post

I agree with bcblondie, encourage her in other, small areas and you will see the confidence spill over.

 

I see you have a cat, can she feed it? Give her a small container with just the right amount of food in it for one feeding and she can dump it in the bowl. This is work for you I know, but she will feel so important to the family and it's a great first job for that age. It can always be her job. Perhaps you can set up several empty jam jars ahead of time and always keep on in a specific place. She can reach it and open it and dump it all on her own.

 

I think 3 is a hard age because they want to do things, and can, but you have to work out all the tiny steps for them to make it successful for them.

 

Other things she could do: sweep with a small dustpan and hand broom (tape a square on the floor with painters tape and she can sweep into it), fold napkins or washcloths, wash dishes in the sink, sort laundry, transfer loads from washer to dryer. 

 

You'll have to show her how and "train" her, show her very slowly and specifically and then step back and she will surprise you. Check out Montessori for more ideas. 3 year olds can surprise you with their capabilities.

 

This will all build confidence that will cross over into the larger things you are talking about. 

Perhaps a step stool on the floor of the car?

Perhaps you tell her your back is hurting and you need her help in the toilet on/off part? I know lots of times I don't tell my kids exactly what I am thinking.

Perhaps give her a "lesson" on wiping her own nose? Cute tissue holder? Anything to make it attractive to her.

 

You should expect a lot from children and let them rise to the occasion!


This last sentence sums it up for me!

 

In our experience, these above suggestions work. DD1 feeds our dog and that boosted her confidence to help mommy and daddy. A lot of times she still whines and argues that she "can't" but with some direct encouragement and instruction (and a bit of stubborness on my part to not help her too much) she figures things out on her own. 3 yo can be a hard age sometimes but you will see a world of difference between 3 and 3.5 IMHO.

post #6 of 15
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Suki Lu View Post

I agree with bcblondie, encourage her in other, small areas and you will see the confidence spill over.

 

I see you have a cat, can she feed it? Give her a small container with just the right amount of food in it for one feeding and she can dump it in the bowl. This is work for you I know, but she will feel so important to the family and it's a great first job for that age. It can always be her job. Perhaps you can set up several empty jam jars ahead of time and always keep on in a specific place. She can reach it and open it and dump it all on her own.

 

I think 3 is a hard age because they want to do things, and can, but you have to work out all the tiny steps for them to make it successful for them.

 

Other things she could do: sweep with a small dustpan and hand broom (tape a square on the floor with painters tape and she can sweep into it), fold napkins or washcloths, wash dishes in the sink, sort laundry, transfer loads from washer to dryer. 

 

You'll have to show her how and "train" her, show her very slowly and specifically and then step back and she will surprise you. Check out Montessori for more ideas. 3 year olds can surprise you with their capabilities.

 

This will all build confidence that will cross over into the larger things you are talking about. 

Perhaps a step stool on the floor of the car?

Perhaps you tell her your back is hurting and you need her help in the toilet on/off part? I know lots of times I don't tell my kids exactly what I am thinking.

Perhaps give her a "lesson" on wiping her own nose? Cute tissue holder? Anything to make it attractive to her.

 

You should expect a lot from children and let them rise to the occasion!


DD is very involved with helping me around the house (um, except for dinnertime.  nightmare central...) and we do most of the things mentioned above :)  I give her a TON of praise and she's still very self-conscious and reluctant to do things.
 

Perhaps a step stool on the floor of the car? Rear facing :) There are a TON of ledges for her to use on the side of the car (car's kickboards, actual car, vehicle seat, etc) to climb like a ladder.

Perhaps you tell her your back is hurting and you need her help in the toilet on/off part? I know lots of times I don't tell my kids exactly what I am thinking. Tried. It goes over her head :(

Perhaps give her a "lesson" on wiping her own nose? Cute tissue holder? Anything to make it attractive to her.  I sewed her some pretty hankerchiefs from some really neat fabric I had laying around (hehe.. they were supposed to be for a blanket but THAT never happened...) and she was super excited until the time came that she sneezed and she had to wipe her nose.  No way on this green earth would she do it.  I think people in Australia heard her screaming and crying in protest :(

 

Also about her nose- it's a bit frustrating now because she has started (today, actually) refusing to come to ME when it happens, and I have to come to her (in order to stop the meltdown, that is).  I don't like being bossed around I don't want to show her that that's okay and natural consequences and yadadada ... but when there's a nursing baby who just fell asleep.. egh, it's just a lot.

 

 

ElliesMomma I ROFLed when I read your post!  That's so funny haha.  Yeah, I do that too though :(  Sometimes it works, sometimes not.

 

 

I have found that she is very reluctant to do things that involve gross motor skills.  I have her enrolled in a gymnastics class at the park district to help her get better at trusting herself and her body to do things.  She enjoys it, but for her first session there (she's going on her fourth session, starts this week) she refused to do a lot of the things.  I don't push it, I just encourage and act very shocked and pleased when she does do it (even if I have seen her do it a million times).  As of last session, she would still refuse to do things.  If she won't, whatever.  It's not a competition or anything, it was moms & tots gymnastics, lol.  My DD actually doesn't do a lot of the things they do in class, come to think of it, and she's not exactly coordinated enough to do some of the things.  It makes me a little uneasy because there are 18 month olds in the class that do some of the things, but I realize that she is still growing into her body and getting used to balance and everything.  I'm clumsy by nature so maybe she gets it from me.  This session is her first session of going by herself for a drop off class so we shall see how it goes.  Anyways- though I know she can do certain things like climb up to her carseat and get off the toilet by herself, I think that she's reluctant in the same way that she's reluctant to do a forwards roll, if that makes sense.  Only she won't budge when it comes to this- I can sometimes encourage a roll out of her.

post #7 of 15

just wondering - does your dd go to preschool?  when my 3.5 yo dd started she became much more independent.

post #8 of 15

WCM - i would bring this up to her pedi. her gross motor skills issue. they may set up some play therapy for her for this esp. and she might really enjoy it and help her at the same time. if she is struggling to do at 3 what 18 year olds can do - i would definitely be bringing it up. that's too great an age gap for that period. if you told me she cant do at 5 what a 3 year old can do i wouldnt be that worried.  

 

that might be the main reason you are seeing all this dependence.

 

boogers and the ewww factor? could that be the issue. eww factor played big at our house too. 

post #9 of 15

My oldest was a "I can't" kind of kid. There were a number causes (some physical, some psychological). The most effective thing for him was to say "You try X, and if you can't, I'll help you." Very often, once he TRIED, he realized he could do it and felt a sense of accomplishment. If he couldn't, I let him try, but then I would step in. Knowing that I was there as a backup helped him relax a bit.

 

But he was very reluctant to change, somewhat afraid of failing, and he kind of likes to be served. He's 9 now, and my goals for him this year are: to get his own snacks and to cut his own meat! He feels loved when we serve him, so I don't want to take that away completely, but really, I'm not going to buttering his toast when he's in high school. (And he'd gladly let me, I think.)

 

As for the potty, honestly, I'd get a potty chair that sits on the floor. Good used ones are cheap.

 

Is she a runner? If not, until she learns to climb into her carseat, I would put the little one in first and then help her. Tell her that she needs to keep her hand on your leg or on the car at all times while you're putting the baby in. I taught my kids at an early age to stand with their hand on the 'square' (i.e. gas cover). Ours is on the passenger side, and so it's a safe place for them to be.

post #10 of 15
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by downvalleygirl View Post

just wondering - does your dd go to preschool?  when my 3.5 yo dd started she became much more independent.



Nope, she's not in preschool.  We have plans for unschooling though (well, actually we technically ARE unschooling since it's really whole-life-learning, but ykwim, lol).  I'm hoping that the drop off gymnastics class will help.  She is familliar with all of the coaches now, and her older (almost 4yo) cousin is in the same class as her. 

post #11 of 15
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by meemee View Post

WCM - i would bring this up to her pedi. her gross motor skills issue. they may set up some play therapy for her for this esp. and she might really enjoy it and help her at the same time. if she is struggling to do at 3 what 18 year olds can do - i would definitely be bringing it up. that's too great an age gap for that period. if you told me she cant do at 5 what a 3 year old can do i wouldnt be that worried.  

 

that might be the main reason you are seeing all this dependence.

 

boogers and the ewww factor? could that be the issue. eww factor played big at our house too. 



 

post #12 of 15
Thread Starter 

 

Okay, not sure why I couldn't write in what I quoted!

 

Anyways, I will bring it up to her pedi.  It might indeed be developmental.  Today I sat down with her and asked her to do some of the things they do at gymnastics- she WAS able to do most of them, but not very well.  Even if I were to model it for her, she couldn't get them just right.  Example: "Donkey kicks".  Child gets on all fours and kicks hind legs up.  She would kick her left leg up but her right would remain in the 'tippy toes' position.

 

 

I had an "Aha!" moment about the nose wiping- she has sensory issues.  She hasn't had issues with "icky" things in awhile but this might be that.  She doesn't mind other icky things though.

post #13 of 15
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by LynnS6 View Post

My oldest was a "I can't" kind of kid. There were a number causes (some physical, some psychological). The most effective thing for him was to say "You try X, and if you can't, I'll help you." Very often, once he TRIED, he realized he could do it and felt a sense of accomplishment. If he couldn't, I let him try, but then I would step in. Knowing that I was there as a backup helped him relax a bit.

 

But he was very reluctant to change, somewhat afraid of failing, and he kind of likes to be served. He's 9 now, and my goals for him this year are: to get his own snacks and to cut his own meat! He feels loved when we serve him, so I don't want to take that away completely, but really, I'm not going to buttering his toast when he's in high school. (And he'd gladly let me, I think.)

 

As for the potty, honestly, I'd get a potty chair that sits on the floor. Good used ones are cheap.

 

Is she a runner? If not, until she learns to climb into her carseat, I would put the little one in first and then help her. Tell her that she needs to keep her hand on your leg or on the car at all times while you're putting the baby in. I taught my kids at an early age to stand with their hand on the 'square' (i.e. gas cover). Ours is on the passenger side, and so it's a safe place for them to be.



Thanks!  We had a potty chair but she outgrew it.  I've been on the hunt for something that can accomodate an older child (since most are geared towards the 18mo crowd) but have been unsucessful thus far. 

 

She's not a runner, but she's a wanderer.  In an instant she's in lala land and wanders around without really having an awareness for her surroundings.  She used to be really good about holding onto the trim on the fender (different color) but it stopped working because she'd zonk out into her own world. 

 

We park on the street (which side varies) and cars zip down our street and our alderman hasn't put up speed bumps yet.  I really can't risk her wandering off.

post #14 of 15

just as point of reference - our soon to be 3 year old (in one week) - can not get on the toilet or in the car seat without hep and this has nothing to due with motor skills (our DS is advanced for his age) / a step stool is not practical and in and out of the car seat in our car is far too difficult based on our type of car

 

but we have been blowing our nose by ourselves for over a year!

 

great to see if you really have a "skill" issue or if it is something more, I simply would not go on expectations alone

post #15 of 15

I posted something similar to this a few weeks back, mydd (3) won't go up or down the stairs without my hand, definitely no car seat, yes to potty... but she is SUPER dependent and I don't think in our case, it is developmental.  I think it is emotional, and I think comparing her to "average" kids has gotten me in a tizzy and made things worse.  If she says I can't, and I say you can- we're sunk...If feels like she is always demanding crazy things from me and I am fried on it - yesterday while making dinner she has me push her chair in, then move her milk glass (MOVER HER MILK GLASS??? are you kidding?) turn her plate so the carrots are facing her- this is crazy, but...why is she doing this?  there is something she needs- above watching me be her monkey.  I am a single momma and often she drives me nuts- for a long time there I would compare and then tell her (not directly, but she knew) that I thought she SHOULD be doing things she wasn't.  Guess what?  this lead to more things she "couldn't do"  the more I refused to turn her plat or adjust her chair, the more ridiculous her requests (and the more frequent).  So I have decided to just feel better about being the monkey- as much as I can, and when I can't - to let her know "today I can't spoon feed you, but we can have a big cuddle after dinner" (yes, she frequently can't eat and so I have to feed her)  This can't last forever, and I do believe that she just needs love and I completely agree with the small confidence boosting- dog feeding ideas...  I could put more energy into that as well.

 

Well if nothing else, I hope this makes you feel better...now could someone please turn my plate so the carrots are facing me?

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