Me do it! A popular cry from most two to three year olds. Sound familiar? This is usually followed by mom’s exasperated look as she knows this is going to take twice as long.
Patience, count to ten and let her try. She isn’t wasting your time, in fact she is busy laying the foundation for future competence in whatever task she is attempting. At this age it’s usually getting dressed herself or cutting her own meat – a skill you would want her to be able to do in the near future unless you plan on doing it for her for the unforeseeable future.
So how do we cope with this Me Do It attitude? Plan, work in the extra time into the schedule. And most of all be patient after all this could take a while to perfect. If you are less pressured so will she be and will more than likely manage to get the task at hand done. Resist taking over, stand back and let her be. You may give some pointers like – loosening the laces if she can’t get her shoes on. Purchase some stickers of animals for example and cut the stickers in half. Put the head in the left shoe and tail on the right shoe and this will help her to get her shoes on in the right way. The toddler who wants to do things by herself will soon master those skills required, making your life so much easier. Keep boosting her self-esteem.
Tips to help them master the skills.
- Give her choices. Do you want to wear this dress or these pants? Two or three choices at the most.
- When shopping do the same. Which one of these two would you like to have me buy for you?
- Compliment her choice, don’t criticize a mismatched outfit. Rather just make a suggestion. The red t-shirt will look nice with the denim shorts.
- Teach them to look for the label to find the back of shirts and pants.
- Mark items if there is no label or sew a ribbon on the outfit.
- Potty training panties or underpants with a picture on makes it easier for them.
- Button from the bottom up. Buttons are a problem for most toddlers as they don’t have the fine motor skills yet. Get them to just line up the buttons at the bottom of the garment – they will eventually master the skill.
- The shoe matching stickers are great for teaching which shoe goes on which foot. Alternatively place them in the right order or explain that buckles /Velcro normally goes on the outside of the foot.
Have fun and remember this too will pass.