Parenting Coach

Practical ideas for social, emotional and behavioral challenges

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Start small.

What you can do

Help your child see she’s capable of completing tasks on her own by starting with short activities that are enjoyable and doable. Give simple, positively worded directions. Make sure you have her attention and that she understands what she’s expected to do before diving in.

Watch her complete the task, and provide coaching if she needs it. Praise her efforts with specific, concrete feedback. The more authentic the praise, the likelier it will have a positive effect on her performance and willingness to do tasks independently. Bring up past successes to encourage your child to try to do more things without you.

What you can say

“It’s time for lunch, Sofia. There’s fresh bread and peanut butter in the pantry. The jelly is in the fridge. Why don’t you take them all out and set them on the kitchen counter? Great. Now I’m going to make myself a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. You make yourself one, too.”

“Here are our plates. I’m going to take out two slices of bread. Your turn, Sofia. Take two slices of bread. Now I’m going to take the spreader and dig in for some peanut butter. I’ll put it just on one slice of bread. Here’s the spreader, Sofia. It’s your turn. Great. Good spreading!”

“Now here comes the jelly! I’ll just wipe the spreader a bit and scoop out some jelly. I’ll put the jelly on the other slice of bread. OK, your turn, Sofia. Great job with the jelly! OK, on the count of three, let’s put our sandwich together. One, two, three! Voilà! OK, let’s eat!”

Why this will help

Kids who are overly dependent on others for help often are afraid of taking risks and failing at their endeavors. Starting with small activities can help reduce your child’s frustration. It will also encourage her to take calculated risks and help ensure her success.

38Found this helpful
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