Magazine article Work & Family Life

A 3-Year-Old Can Do More Than You Think

Magazine article Work & Family Life

A 3-Year-Old Can Do More Than You Think

Article excerpt

Q My three-year-old is constantly trying to do things by himself. I hate to stop him but often he can't really do what he thinks he can do. Any ideas?

-S.C., Indianapolis, IN

At this age, your son is trying hard to be "grownup" and do things on his own. This is something you really want to encourage because it will develop his problem-solving skills and he will be more likely to develop into a responsible, cooperative child.

Of course, sometimes this leads to a mess. The next time your son spills something, try saying, "How about if I help you clean that up?" Show him how to use the mop or broom or paper towels. Learning from his mistakes will build his sense of confidence too.

Emphasize the growing list of things your son can already do on his own now (dress himself, carry a light bag from the car to the house, help set the table or feed the family pet every morning) and build on those skills. For example, if he knows how to politely ask for a glass of milk at home, he can also request a meal from a waitress or waiter in a restaurant.

Have him to do chores with you, like sorting the laundry or folding clothes from the dryer. You'll find that "showing" works even better than "telling. …

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