"Never help a child with a task at which he feels he can succeed."- Maria Montessori
So the other day, my little man got ready on his own for school. After I tied his shoelace (the only task left to master) and saw him to his school van, I began to think that is not just the act of dressing up, but my boy has mastered a complex set of activities.
We are not Superman, yes, the underwear does go inside:
There is a sequence to dressing up like underwear first, vest second, top third and trousers fourth. Finally, you wear the socks and then put on your shoe. When you start mastering these activities, you present your children with a practical lesson in order and sequencing.
The Year of Purple:
I've seen a child wearing her favourite pink Dora t-shirt for a whole month. (I hope the kid let the garment be washed occasionally though). It can test your patience when a child flatly refuses to wear clothes of another colour and let perfectly good clothes lay waste in the cupboard. Additionally, there may be days when you turn the house upside down searching for a favourite purple sock, but these are all a great ways for kids to learn about colours.
Confidence to choose:
Moreover, giving a child the option to choose their own clothes can help build their decision-making skills. But make sure you keep an extra five minutes for this activity, or you might just end up pulling your hair out while your little diva chooses her dress for the day. (Did I hear someone say, Thank God for school uniforms?)
Does this Match?
After your child is done with ‘I will only wear purple phase', you might embark on the colour coordinated (or not so coordinated) phase. While on some days your child may be a visual sensory overload, soon she will begin to match up her pretty yellow polka dot blouse with a nice pair of sea-green shorts. Also, clothes throw up a great opportunity to reinforce their learning about patterns and shapes. Think checked shorts, striped pyjamas, polka dot swimsuits, round buttons and square collars. Need I elaborate more?
Hand Eye Coordination:
Press buttons, regular buttons, zippers, Velcro straps, shoe laces all prove a challenge for your little one. Stand back and watch (and help when called for) while your child masters these tasks and improves his hand eye coordination and fine motor skills.
Flight to Imagination:
Don't you remember the number of times that we used to tie an apron or a dupatta around our necks and race around the house pretending to be Superman? Or pretend to be Fraulein Maria from the Sound of Music with a skirt around our heads. Veils, hats, sunglasses, ties, plastic pearls, old sarees, coats were all we needed to be transported to the magical world of make-believe. Clothes ceased to be simply clothes, but a ticket to a fantasy world. (I miss those days). So, let your kid rummage through your cupboard and play dress up, and maybe you can join him too.
My thoughts are wandering back to my little boy again. The pride in his eyes of having completed a task on his own was a sight to see. My heart was almost bursting with pride. Yes, kids do grow up too fast. Maybe just for today, the underwear can go on the outside.
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