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how to get 4 yo to try at things

(2 Posts)
rhetorician Sat 12-Jan-13 13:20:06

she is absolutely resistant - doesn't dress herself (or even try), brush hair, or brush teeth (even though she can). We have just had 20 minutes of howling because we suggested that she learn how to undo the buttons on her coat. Cue 'I can't do it, I can't do it', even though we were patiently showing her how. She won't do anything that she thinks is difficult or hard, which seems to include anything involving any kind of effort. She is perfectly capable, although quite tricky to handle - this particular incident ended up with her yelling 'you're being mean to me'. She also gets upset if things aren't done according to her idea of how they should go - and yes, we give her limited choices, plenty of praise, clear boundaries with direct consequences etc.

She is in nursery and they have no difficulties with her

Kleinzeit Sat 12-Jan-13 13:57:37

Have you tried breaking the task down into teeny tiny steps and getting her to do just one step? So instead of “learning to unbuttoning her coat” how about her just undoing one button.

Once she can undo a button by herself you can also reward her for undoing just one button (or ten seconds of tooth-brushing or hair-brushing) and it’s up to her whether she does the rest herself or not. (The usual star-chart-to-earn-a-reward type thing) You may find that when she’s earned the reward for one button she’s quite happy to undo all the rest with no fuss and no extra rewards but just some praise for undoing them all! I got my son to eat nicely that way – he got a star for just eating three small scoops of cereal with his mouth shut, and then he’d be happy to eat the rest of the bowl in small scoops with his mouth shut! It was as if he needed the reward to get him started, once he was started he could do the rest.

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