Saturday, February 6, 2010

Introducing self care

Self care is an important skill for children to acquire at a very young age. It gives them pride and independence, and it also lessens Mom and Dad's role, as the child can begin to take on simple tasks themselves. One of the first tasks you can introduce is combing hair. We have a low wicker chest (that I got in college at a garage sale for $1....definitely got my money out of this bargain!) that holds a small tray (.49 at the Salvation's handpainted wood with peacocks on it....EXACTLY my cup of tea!!) and a comb and brush. I bought a cheapo ($5) mirror at Big Lots, stapeled on some cute ribbon with an upholstry stapler, and hung it from a robe hook bought at Lowe's. It makes the perfect little dressing table for Q. For now we just encourage her to comb and brush her own hair (which for her doesn't take long!!). Later on we will add a box of tissues so she can wipe her own nose. At another point we may add a small jar of her hair things so she can choose which item she will wear in her hair that day. We may also include a small jewelery box with a few items inside it. The key is to gradually add more responsibilities as the child shows readiness for it. However, you also want to be sure not to put out "too much." Q already has about a zillion hair thingys (wishful thinking, huh!) and if (in a few months) I put them all out in a jar that would overwhelm her and also be a huge mess to clean up if dumped...AND be very difficult for her to make a decision which to wear. I would just put out 4-5 at a time and let her choose from those. I could rotate them over time. Same thing with the jewelery.

Other items that could be put out as the child seems ready:
-small container of lotion
-hair gel (for boys)

Note that it is key that these items are available at the child's level so that they can accomplish the task on their own (after you have taught them how and practiced with them many times).
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