Last week I wrote about some struggles we were having with Star and about a video I watched about letting children do more in their environment. (click here to go to that post) For the past week or so, I've conducted an experiment to see if letting Star have more freedom would lead to less tantrums and stress in the house. Simply put, it worked. This past week we did the following things,
1. Taught Star to go to the bathroom and wash her hands by herself
2. Let Star make her toast every morning
3. Give Star the ability to help, even in the littlest way, with every meal
4. Gave Star a drawing table.
The First two were very easy. I just had to rearrange the stools in the bathroom so that she could reach the light switch and put everything she needed in arms reach. Since doing this, we have had only two accidents in one week.
We relocated the toaster so that she could reach it using her "helper stool". This is a step stool I kept stored in the kitchen to reach things in high cupboards. Star now knows that she can only help if her helper stool is out. Here is her proud picture.
As far as helping with every meal, basically all it takes is remembering. She got the biggest thrill out of adding salt and pepper to the meal a few night ago. To my surprise she was also able to crack an egg into a bowl with out any eggshells falling in.
The last one was very big for me. Every time I would leave crayons out for Star she would draw on everything but the paper. It didn't matter how I explained it, or how many times I explained that crayons were for paper, she still insisted on sneaking off and coloring the walls. So, I now have decided to change tactics. While Star was spending the night with her grandparents, I set up a little table with washable crayons, pencils and different colored papers. I figured that since its all washable and erasable, if she draws on the walls, then I'll just teach her to clean it off, no rebuking, lecturing or harsh tones.
The next morning when Star came home, I left it all out for her to find on her own. It was wonderful to be in another room and eavesdrop on her. When she first saw it she let out a little gasp. She quickly started investigating. I could hear little murmurs as she was naming things as she drew them. I really didn't want to disturb her, but eventually my curiosity got the best of me. So I went to look, and this is what I found:
Here she is trying to trace her elbow. Now this was a definite moment of bliss. The best part, not a single mark on the wall in two days! Maybe the more we trust our children, the more they will work to live up to our expectations. All I know is that there has been a lot less stress, raised voices and time outs, which has led to more time for snuggling, dancing and laughing.