[Post by Andrew] I have posted several times about our children’s dish washing efforts. Through guiding them in this area, I have realized that the words and phrases we use as parents can empower or disempower them. What do I mean?
How can we teach our children to do something new to them but familiar to us? We can either tell time all the steps and direct them, or we can let them begin, see how the progress then ask guiding questions to help their decision making. The first approach was what I took initially and I was glad when Dylan could follow all my steps. With Emmy however, I took a different approach and would watch what she does, what she stretches out her hands for, what she looks at. When she was lost or needed help, she would turn to me and then I would guide her by asking, “So what do you need? Is it to wash the sponge” and respond based on her response.
It’s been an interesting journey watching how she slowly picks up not the steps, but critical things to look out for when washing dishes, e.g. whether there’s still residue. She’s definitely taking a longer time to learn than her brother, but it’s fascinating for me as a parent watching how instinctive some aspects of household chores can be to little children and holding back my instructions to see how they explore!
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