My 6-year-old son never wants to get ready in the morning on his own. — How can I make him more independent? This year, I’ve let my 10-year-old daughter travel to and from school on her own on foot and using public transport. — How can I ensure that she w
Audrey Zucchi. Tackle this in two stages. 1. Adapt his environment: put all the clothes he’ll wear this season on shelves at his height; put whatever he needs to get ready into a basket so that he doesn’t have to remember where everything is and will avoid lots of coming and going. In the hall, put a plastic or cardboard box labelled with drawings of shoeprints. 2. Turn it into a game: Take pictures of your son doing everything he needs to get ready and make them into “ritual” cards. (I wash my face; I brush my teeth; I get dressed; I comb my hair, etc.). Use magnets to fix them onto a board. Each time he completes an action, ask him to slide the card into the opposite column listing the things he’s done. Explain what he has to do in short sentences without repeating them hundreds of times; tell him how important it is to get ready on his own and that you trust him. Make it more a matter of cooperation than obedience. Mélusine Harlé, PhD in communication. 2 The best way of not frightening her is to give her all the useful information and advice needed to keep her safe without showing your anxiety. If you’ve decided to let your daughter go to and from school on her own, then you obviously trust her. So first tell her that you trust her and that it is important that she be aware of the potential dangers in her environment (basically road traffic and malevolent people). Talk to her very simply about strangers who could come up to her and make dishonest propositions and how important it is to keep calm. It is essential that she knows that, in this window of vulnerability, there are adults around her whom she can count on, and to whom she can turn straight away in case she feels threatened (the bus driver, shopkeepers, adults on the same pavement, etc.).