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How to encourage my 4 year old to be independent

Discussion in 'Schoolgoers & Teens' started by SRK123, Jan 26, 2012.

  1. SRK123

    SRK123 Silver IL'ite

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    I have a 4 year old daugher( just turned 4) and this is some information about her
    1) she has slight language delay compared to other kids of her age. but follows simple directions and talks a lot in simple sentences. We are working on that
    and able to see good development. she can talk two languages.
    2) she is potty trained for pee, but doesnt want to poo in her potty, we tried almost everything and currently trying without pressurising her and didnt achieve night time dryness yet, have to work on that.
    3) I did the following things for her until now :

    a) i dress her up, she can dressup with help
    b) i still feed her, i will let her eat first, and if she doesnt show interest, i will feed her . she eats without help if it is her favourite, otherwise, i will feed her
    c) she can wear socks and shoes, with lot of help. i mean she does a little bit, but i do the major part
    d) she can comb her hair, but not properly
    d) other things like, i make bed for her, i towel dry her after taking bath,

    e) i let her make choices for clothes, shoe, jacket and food she eats. She takes bath by herself.
    f) she plays independently and is very social.
    I thought she is indepedent enough for her age.

    she goes to preschool, her teacher told us that she needs to be more independent. She said that all the kids of
    her age are doing the following things without help
    -> wear jacket or take off jacket without help
    -> wear shoes and socks without help
    -> get her waterbottle and drink w/o help
    -> get her lunch bag in lunch time, unzip it, open lunch box and eat and close it and put it back in the bag and zip it
    everything without help.

    , and she asked us to encourage her to be more independent at home. she was telling that a 4 year old should know how to feed
    herself, dress and get ready all by herself without help.. I agree with her, the problem was i never realized that i was
    doing everything for her without encouraging her to do it herself. Now I started to encourage her to try everything,
    sometimes she shows interest in trying, sometimes she doesnt. I know i cant teach her everything overnight. But I am looking for
    tips and advice from other experienced moms.
    I have another problem about putting her to sleep. But i would like to post it as another thread. Please give your opinions and advice even if you dont have any tips for me.

    Thank you.
     
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  2. Coffeelover

    Coffeelover Platinum IL'ite

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    Please, Please consult the doctor. She may have a developmental problem.With help of therapy, she can do much better. Palo Alto Packard Children's hospital does wonders.

    I am concerned because of personal experience a friend's child recently. She had the problem and now doing much better.
    Good luck.
     
  3. teacher

    teacher Platinum IL'ite

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    Has your daughter been diagnosed with a language delay or is this a delay because she started school (where only English is spoken)? If there a language delay in her first language? If she has a language delay it is better to stick to one language. You can always teach the 2nd Language later as she has the foundation for it.

    As for her jacket...it is age appropriate not to be able to manage the whole thing. The bulk makes it a bit difficult to coordinate it. Here's how we taught this skill ...
    Children and Coats - Teaching Kids to Put on Coats Video

    I think theres a video too. Zipping up and down can be difficult especially trying to hook the two ends together.

    The same with socks...in terms of skill she is not too far behind...put the sock through her toes and ask her to pull it up. When you teach any skill you do the first part and have her finish the task. Does she wear shoes with Velcro or with laces? If she has laces it is perfectly age appropriate not to be able to tie them.

    As for food, pack a variety of foods...in small quantities. That way she will get sufficient nutrition and will be motivated to eat on her own because of the choices.

    Is her teacher's concern because of
    1. The fact your child needs more motivation?
    2. The fact that your child is not picking up these skills at the same pace?

    If it is the former, work on ...you do some, I'll do some to help you. In the process you can wean yourself off without making a big to do...so your daughter doesn't feel that she has to do everything(a lot of kids resist that). It maybe due to the lack of opportunities so far.

    If it is the latter it maybe because of the language delay (due to difficulty in following multiple step directions in class), fine motor coordination, low tone in her muscles, etc.

    I would work on the multiple step directions...use temporal words in your directions...first put the box in the bag, second put the fruit in the bag, now zip the bag. First bag away and then throw the trash away. These tell her what order to follow.

    How is her fine motor coordination otherwise? Try to tease out whether it is due to lack of opportunity or difficulty with sequencing the steps or if it is a motor planning problem.
     
  4. aparnag

    aparnag Platinum IL'ite

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    Dear... big hugs...
    please take her to a doctor and find out her position from the doc..
    A cousin of mine (almost my age), same thing happened.. my aunt believed shes one slow child and till today shes not grown at all... Nothing to scare you but see medicine is so advanced.. take her to a doc plz...
     
  5. SRK123

    SRK123 Silver IL'ite

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    Hi CoffeeLover, Teacher, Aparnag,

    Thank you for all the valuable suggestions

    In these 4 days, I realized that she can do almost everything on her own,
    only I didnt give her enough opportunity to do everything on her own
    and I did everything even before she tries. She actually is able to do everything,
    only she doesnt want to do it as she is so used to get it done by me.

    Now I started trying to correct it and she is doing better day by day. I am praising her directly, or i am telling all my friends that I am proud of how independent she is now, while she is watching and all this is actually working.. If someone has more ideas please share..


    Teacher,

    Thankyou for all those valuable suggestions. I started implementing them and they are already working for me.. The " How to wear coat" video is very good, I will try it for her.

    When her teacher said that she has to be independent, she wanted us to encourage her more.

    Regarding her language delay, she can speak english and telugu( her mother tongue).
    English :
    1) follows two-step commands, and some 3 step commands
    2) understands most complex sentences
    3) doesnt speak complex sentences like "if..then", "because", etc.
    4) doesnt answer questions on "who" and "why"
    telugu:
    1) can understand complex sentences and 2 step commands
    2) can talk 2 word sentences
    3) replies in english in asked in telugu
    In her other areas than language, she seems pretty normal..

    I believe that her language delay is because i didnt provide proper stimulation to her when she was a baby as I was inexperienced( i didnt speak to her enough) and had a severe post-partum depression until she is 3.5, and started recovering since 6 months with therapy and medication, and still recovering...

    I decided that we are going to get her evaluated. I am so worried about her that I am unable to have food or sleep...:drowning I just want to know if everything is going to be okay?

    -Kiran
     
  6. teacher

    teacher Platinum IL'ite

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    Glad that you were able to observe and draw those conclusions. A lot of kids start school without a certain degree of independence. So they do resist a direct "you do ... This on your own." A good way to avoid power struggles is to break up the task and offer to share the work. 'its time to pack your bag. What are you going o put in first? Oh...that...ok, go get it.' or 'it's time to clean up...u get those toys while I get...' all the while u make her do most of the work...she'll get used to th idea of completing the tasks on her own and you can graduate to 'you finish that task while I put the clothes away.'

    As for language, there is a period whe children who are switching from one language to another show a lag. This is common because the brain is trying to make those new connections. You are obviously an informed parent because you have listed your observations very clearly and sequentially.

    A lot of kids have mild language delays...the problem occurs when parents are unaware of the subtleties of language acquisition and don't understand the need to work systematically. You on the other hand show that you have a grasp of her needs. I won't say don't be worried. Instead I'd say use the worry to be deliberate in your approach. That will make sure she doesn't have any gaps in her language acquisition (which will impact her reading later). Kids do bridge the gap when the approach is deliberate.

    For one of our kids we used to have a daily log. She too was a young child who needed to work on two step directions and complex directions. We had to write down
    familiar 2step direction we used with her and her rate of comprehension (out of five attempts)
    Unfamiliar 2step directions and her rate of comprehension (understandably this was less than the previous one)
    Familiar complex sentence with 2 attributes with the rate of comprehension
    Unfamiliar complex sentence with 2 attributes ...
    This was a wonderful system to make sure we varied our directions and didn't do the same "put your bag away and come to the table" everyday. Every week we reviewed all the directions we used and updated those for the following week...this helped us see where we needed to focus our attention. Try to write a log....it has to be very simple and shouldn't be too time consuming. Otherwise it ends up stressing u out more. Just the date and the directions u used, and how she responded.

    Get her lots of books...one way to gain fluency is to hear fluent language...your intonation will also.help. Arrange for play dates with native speakers. When you talk toner you will be directing the flow of the language...whereas in play with her peers, she has to adapt to spontaneous language that is directed by another child...she will have to put to use all the skills you teach her. There is no substitute for play...whether it is with toys or running in circles around the playground.

    As for your depression, I know it is easy for me to be on the outside and pontificate... you are aware that it could cause difficulties and are taking care of it. The bigger problem would be if you did nothing to help yourself. People who make good parents are those who have problems and learn how to handle them...

    Go ahead and seek an evaluation...remember an evaluation doesn't mean the problems will persist through life...your daughter may bridge the gap for a few years. academic expectations increase as the kids move up and there may be gaps later...again she'll work on bridging the gap and keep moving forward.

    If she is seeing an slp then that person is obviously a good resource for you. There is a very nice website that gives the sequence of learning to follow directions. I will look for it in my work log and send it later...FYI.

    Good luck.
     
  7. dakshayaeni

    dakshayaeni Silver IL'ite

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    Hello All,

    Reading the posts of this thread, I felt a compulsion to share my own experience on this with you. My nephew 3 yr old now has exactly similar challenges what Rajkiran narrated. My own sister who is a housewife understood something is missing with the child when talked to the Montessori school teacher where he is going, found out the following:

    1. Avnish, the child did not respond when called by his name

    2. He remained mostly unattached about his own surrounding and kept on doing what he liked

    3. He did not mingle with the other kids

    4. Did not speak, make strange sounds when annoyed, and did not maintain any eye contact

    My sister talked to the child doc, and the doc stated might be he is suffering from mild autism but asked us to take an expert help. We sought help from some of best experts in our country and went to continuing with some basic therapies like what our friend Teacher suggested.

    Improvement has been dramatic.

    During my direct involvement in taking the child to the experts etc, I noticed something and that is autism is on the rise especially in the urban areas. boys are more affected to girls and late pregnancy is also one of the contributing factor to this issue. The other critical observation that I had was often elders in the family ignores immediate parents concern and say that with time child will be OK. What they do not realize is if we can detect any challenge with a child as early as possible, then the probability of healing is much higher. A good age to detect attention disorder, speech delay and other issues is usually 2.3 years till 4 years, post which healing becomes really a challenge.

    With the improvement in modern medicine we can give some stimulant or nerve soothing medicine, but the actual healing is done by therapists who continuously stimulate motor neurons of a child by simple Montessori apparatus. But they follow a process. Parents often lose hope and give up during such a process. But I wish to tell you all and others who are faced with such a situation in life that all human beings will take their own time to cope up, to react and to think. We all do things differently in our own time. Please do not push any child, follow a structured med practice and most importantly be patient.

    I feel happy that our friend Rajkiran has herself witnessed the improvements and wish may god bless the child!
     
  8. SRK123

    SRK123 Silver IL'ite

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    Hi All,


    10 days back,we had few things to discuss with teacher and when we spoke, teacher told us passively that we need to encourage her to be more independent, and we started doing that,and we all( including teacher) found good results.. now she is doing everything by herself without help or sometimes with a little help, but she is not right track and we are sure she will do fine.

    After that, 3 days back, my husband spoke to her again and asked her opinion about my daughter's language development, she said that my daughter speaks pretty good english with her friends, and she doesnt think there is a language barrier. While saying this, she also said " but sometimes, she doesnt pay attention to what we say.. Yesterday, literally i asked her 6 to 7 times during her lunch time to get her lunch bag and sit in your chair... but she is looking at me as though she is not understanding.. as though she is lost in her thoughts... she does it sometimes...but otherwise, she is a smart child.. i think it is better to get her evaluated to make sure...she is fine" .

    My husband came home and told me about this, but i knew this already as she does it at home too and I also knew the reason why she doesnt respond sometimes...

    Usually, sometimes she will be remembering what has happened in the classroom circle time, or how she had lot of fun at the playground, what she spoke to her friends, and how some boy was hanging on the monkey bars etc...

    and during that time, she will be lost in thoughts and when we speak to her at that moment, she will not respond until 5 or 6 times, sometimes she starts the phonics songs which they sing in the circle time, she starts singing it and she doesnt stop until she is done with all the phonics, and if someone interrupts in the middle, she either doesnt respond, or mostly says "wait" or says what she was thinking about at that time, like " hey little boy, be careful !! you might fall down " and she will come out of that thought slowly.. unless what we said is really interesting to her..and when she is drawing, she will be totally concentrating and even if we say something, she will not listen or not pay attention.. But yes, if I call out her name with a little firm voice once or twice, she will say yes and listen to what I say...

    Sometimes, if she doesnt want to do what she is asked to, she will not say anything.. I can be wrong, but to me,all this seems normal... If she has attention problems, she wont be in a position to play with the same toy for around 20 minutes at a strech..

    And one more thing,One year back she was not playing without me or a playmate, I slowly encouraged her to play independently, and from then slowly she started playing by herself and sometimes lost in her playing or lost in her thoughts.. sometimes so lost that she will not respond immediately, so all this daydreaming is coming from that.. Is there any problem with this?

    Note: I do play with her half of the time, its not like she plays alone throughout the day.. She does have playdates and friends coming over, and my husband plays with her for one hour everyday.

    Why I am saying all this is, tomorroww I have taken pediatrician appointment, we have to discuss with her our concerns, so that she can refer to a developmental evaluation for her, and now I dont know what our concern is !!:bonk

    Teacher,

    Your idea really worked for my daugher. She is already following multiple step directions now. She is understanding "if .... then...." and answering "why" questions with "because...." sometimes, if she doenst know what to answer, she is just saying "because "and thinking what to say.. this is definitely an improvement. I am continuing to make deliberate attempts as you said.. Thank you so much for the valuable guidance..

    We have contacted a developmental specialist, and she asked for pediatrician's prescription and hence we are visiting the pediatrician tomorrow. and I am planning to tell her the beloww points :

    1) she speaks very well, but doesnt use a wide variety of sentences

    2)sometimes lost in thoughts and doesnt respond

    Many thanks for your support, I really didnt have anyone's guidance and all this questions marks and selfdoubts are a result of that.. I always find myself wondering if i am doing the right thing or not.. I am also not very clear about what is normal and what is not? I read a lot of internet articles and books from the library... but small words of guidance and reassurance from knowledgeable people like you is a huge relief..

    Whatever I wrote above, I am sharing this with all my IL friends... Any sort of advice is welcome...

    Thank you.

    Kiran.
     
  9. teacher

    teacher Platinum IL'ite

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    Hi Rajkiran,

    You're welcome. Since your daughter is picking up the skills, it shows that there is no major cause for worry. As for attention, kids can attend to the task-if they like it. It is great that you have contacted the developmental specialist. Good luck.

    Most parents learn with their child, especially when it is their first:) do explain the entire scenario to the specialist. I have seen children wanting to complete their task (speech, song, play), before shifting their attention to the task at hand. Shifting attention is an important skill but your daughter is also very young. So do ask lots and lots of questions-no doubt is to too small or inconsequential.
     
  10. SRK123

    SRK123 Silver IL'ite

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    Update – We visited Pediatrician yesterday, and she feels that my daughter is absolutely normal and up to the mark in all areas of development… and there is nothing to worry. She said that evaluation is not necessary but we can get her evaluated if we want. We are going ahead with evaluation.
    Still wondering why her teacher felt that she can have a problem...I can be wrong but I also sensed that my daughter is not that comfortable with her teacher and hence her behaviour... Even pediatrician felt that teacher is complaining too much when there is no problem at all and it can effect my daughter's confidence if she keeps complaining like this.. and suggested to shift her from this school if this continues... we decided to give some more time before shifting her from this school.
    Many thanks for all those who has spent thier valuable time and provided me with their valuable suggestions. All the suggestions helped me really.
    -kiran
     

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