I love to witness A.J. participating in practical life activities. For example, whenever I’m in the kitchen, he retrieves the broom and dust pan from the pantry and proceeds to sweep the kitchen floor.
I plan to purchase a child size broom to make it easier for him to manage and to use properly. But for now, I allow him the freedom to sweep away using the oversized broom. When he finishes sweeping, he voluntarily returns the broom and dust pan to where it belongs. When he feels the urge to leave it laying in the middle of the floor, I ask him questions about where the broom belongs, instead of ordering him to put it back.
I’m learning to help A.J. to be more self-directed by inspiring him to right-action through questions, instead of asking or demanding. Of course I ask on occasion, but it’s much more empowering for toddlers to take action based on the answer that they think of versus me simply telling them what to do. My questioning tactic will have to suffice until A.J. grows into the understanding that we put items that we use back where they belong.
As I improve my organizational skills and create a “prepared environment,” restoring items to their proper place should become easier for the entire family. I must be patient with myself and 14-month old A.J. Although he is barely over one, he understands a great deal. He is capable of following simple requests and demonstrates that he can process questions by displaying appropriate actions.
Here is an example of A.J. returning the broom to its proper place:
There are occasions when I ask A.J. to return an item to its proper place and he laughs at me or ignores me. When this happens, I offer to help him and explain that “I’m putting the broom back where it belongs.” Then I give a short explanation why, “We want to keep our kitchen neat and safe.”
While A.J. may not understand all of my words, lately I have observed him putting more items back where they belong without having to prompt him. This progress is worth celebrating, which is one of the reasons that I created this blog; to keep track of A.J.’s development and to remind myself to celebrate these milestone moments daily.
Pray, Persist & Prosper!