June 19, 2012 at 7:22 pm #13198
The ability to focus and finish a job is a real challenge for a preschooler because he’s still learning how to stick with a task Kids this age are just beginning to learn how to rely on themselves. Your job as a parent is to nurture the skills that will help your child transition from helpless to tenacious.
At this age, skills and abilities vary greatly from child to child, and your preschooler may be feeling the kiddie version of not being able to keep up with the others. Suddenly, your child is seeing her friend do things that she may not be able to do yet — like ride a tricycle or write her name. That sense of discouragement could be at the heart of a child’s tendency to throw up her hands when things get challenging, so it’s a good idea to say something empathetic like, ‘When I was your age, I had a hard time riding a bike too, but I practiced every day and finally I just took off!'” This will help focus your child’s attention on the effort everyone has to make to learn something new — even you.
Stop Swooping In
Your desire to rescue your child from frustration born from a toppled Lego masterpiece or a train track that won’t connect is natural — but totally counterproductive when it comes to teaching him tenacity.
Teach him to “reboot” by putting his hands in his lap and taking a slow, deep inhale and exhale before he takes another go at his project. If he’s still feeling thwarted, suggest getting up for a drink of water, or doing a big reach-for-the-sky stretch to help move himself into “ready to conquer” zone.
Your job is to model the benefits, as well as the joys, of self-reliance. If you’re frustrated because you can’t get your pictures uploaded to your Facebook page, get lost even though you’re following the GPS directions, or once again have forgotten one of the key ingredients you need for what you’re about to make for dinner, get your sense of humor on and let your child see you pull it together — it might be just the moment to teach your kid that fabled mantra: I think I can, I think I can, I know I can.
How many of us do all this???
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