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I don't know if this will still work, but giving them options stemming from the original issue helped here:
You need to put your shoes on. Do you want to wear your sandals or sneakers.
You need to put your plate in the kitchen. It can go on the counter or in the sink.
and so on. It's just so matter of fact, there's no asking, there's just stating the next step. And if there's still "I can't!", then a matter of fact 'why?' or "okay, do you need me to walk you through it?" Not easy to do when you have more than one clammering for your attention, but after a few times it tends to work, especially followed by noticing when they do get it done by themselves. "Look at that! You found a solution! The stepstool gets you high enough to put your plate in the sink!"
Some mostly random thoughts here.
Second, I found the book "The 5 Love Languages of Children" really helped my understanding of why my children (well, my older child really) was so "helpless." The book describes 5 'love languages' -- touch, gifts, words, time/attention, and acts of service. When I read that, it was like a light bulb went off in my head. THAT'S why ds asked me to get him dressed until he was well over 5. THAT'S why he gets all cranky when I don't have time to help him find things. One of his major love languages is: ACTS OF SERVICE. He feels loved when I do things for him. AND he feels unloved when I refuse. (His other love language is time/attention, so it's a really doozy of a combo!)
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