Independence Day

My 3 year old has started insisting on doing everything himself.  It's great that he's learning some new skills on his own, but how can I get things moving a little more quickly?

Preschoolers are fickle creatures!  It wasn't long ago he was regressing to diapers and bottles when the new baby arrived, and now suddenly he has decided he's a big boy.  You are proud of him for taking on the challenges of growing up, but it's the 3rd time this month that your morning meeting has been wrapping up at the office and you're still waiting for your child to hobble out of his bedroom with his shirt on backwards and two feet in the same pant leg.

Decide what's non-negotiable:  Keep a few hard rules, either for safety or convenience. ("You must hold a grown-up's hand when crossing the street."  "Grown-ups pour milk and juice but kids can pour water.")  Your child will learn to build his independent tasks around these rules if he knows they are not up for discussion.

Get it out of his system (or at least try!):  Offer as many independent tasks as you can when the schedule is not so packed.  If you’re lucky, he will feel he’s had enough opportunities to do things his own way and be less resistant when a time crunch has Mom taking charge.

Nanny Carrie's Tip: Play it up!  You'd be surprised how many time-consuming battles you can eliminate by playing up the independence.  Try:
-"When you have finished your dinner, can you please clear your plate and turn on the dishwasher all by yourself?"
-"Can you go upstairs and choose your favourite pyjamas and fill your glass of water at the sink?"
You may find he will breeze through these otherwise challenging times because he's excited to have a project of his own.

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Author: Nanny Carrie

Nanny Carrie always knew she wanted a big family, so she made it her business to borrow everybody else's children until she had her own. You can find her embracing the organized chaos of life with five kids and loving (almost) every minute!

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