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

Milk Magazine (English) - - EDUCATION -

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.).

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