Tuesday, May 17, 2011

A Fine Line

Last night Claire and I were playing with her coffee can and links.  I cut a wide slot into the coffee can lid and the links fit nicely.  It's pretty much a homemade version of the Piggy and coins.

We've been working with this toy for about a week or so, and while she would humor me for a few minutes she just wasn't all that interested.  Until last night.

Last night she got the can and tried to open it.  When I helped her get the links out, she immediately grabbed them and aimed for the slot.  She knew what she wanted to do, but couldn't quite get them in the slot. With a little hand over hand practice, she started getting closer and closer until she could get them in the slot herself. By the end of the night she was easily getting the links in the slot. 

But that fine line?  That fine line is knowing when to help, and when to let her struggle.  A few times last night I waited too long to help.  Claire got frustrated and the links went flying across the room.  Some kisses on her baby and a song soothed her, and she would voluntarily return to the can and the links.  But there were also times I helped too soon.  Once I picked up a link she missed and tried to hand it to her.  That link went flying too. 

Other times I let her struggle, somehow exactly the right amount, and the success was sweet, and it was all hers.  Quite a few times last night she would try to get a link in the slot, and it wouldn't go immediately.  Instead of getting upset, she would use both hands to reposition her grip on the link, and would try again.  Completely unprompted.  There was lots of clapping and cheering at our house last night!

I want Claire to be independent.  I want her to be confident to try things on her own.  I constantly remind people (especially Darren) not to do things for her that she can easily do herself.  But last night was a good reminder for me.  A reminder that help isn't all bad. We all need a helping hand at times, but the grin on her face when she got it all on her own, was amazing!


  1. Haha! I like her spunk! I'm even chuckling at how she throws the links when she gets frustrated. Sounds alot like me playing golf! You do hate to see your kids struggle. A good friend of mine who I saw this morning has a daughter who spent most of her life in a school for kids with special needs. She just transitioned to a "regular" school and it has been really hard on her. My friend said that it would be easier to just home school her, but she wouldn't be doing her job as a parent unless she pushed her daughter out of her comfort zone. You are doing a great job of helping Claire be her own person.

  2. I hear you, sister. If you help too soon she'll expect you to always do it and she will look to you instead of doing it herself... I think you are walking that fine line beautifully.

  3. Way to go Claire!!!

    I struggle with this myself...with both boys! I often jump in and help at the first sign of frustration or help before they even look like they need it. Rich always reminds me to let them do it themselves and I'm trying to get better but it's a struggle. I want them to be independent and to know it's okay to fail and try again. I love the idea of using links to put in the slots....everything goes in Sutter's mouth so those would be perfect...now I just need a coffee can! :)

  4. Couldn't have said it better. This sounds like our household. . .only we do have the piggy. Got it at a used Children's consignment shop for 3 bucks. Before the piggy, I did make one, like you did, but with a large yogurt container but she would just take the lid off and shake the pieces everywhere. I think the piggy works for Ellie because it makes noise when the coins go in.

  5. oh yeah, I almost always wait too long to help and then it is full meltdown. I need to get better at reading the signs.

    Like you said, a fine line.

  6. it is such a fine line...when to help when to encourage..when to gie an example...ad when are you just frustrating the both of you...I am so learning Maddie's cues on when to step back when to help...or when to cheer...but when I get that cue wrong..wow I am in trouble..I think Chad is to hard on Maddie I tend to be the one that babies her..I know to stop...but I just hate to see her struggle..but I love to see her show me how she can do it...great learning tool! smiles

  7. Thats so Arina! She would chuck something if she got frustrated! I love that she kept at it, and I bet that smile was amazing!

  8. You are right, it is a fine line. Its very hard as a parent to step back and let your child do something on their own when they are struggling. Russell gets frustrated easily and then just moves onto something else...Good for Claire for sticking to it and doing it all on her own!!

  9. Yeah for the precious little Claire!

    Because Zoey has and had so much extra that came with that extra chromosome,I have watched her struggle so much that I know I am guilty of helping too much or not making hr work just a bit harder.she is totally reliant on me,100%,for everything but ...I do know and should recognize that she most likely CAN do more than I think she can.Oh,but I hate to see her cry!!!


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