Sometimes children ask for help when they don’t need it. Sometimes it is because they want to make an emotional connection by pushing your “rescue button”. They may also feel incompetent, lack self confidence, or be afraid of making a mistake. Regardless of the reason, when you do something for children that they can do for themselves you reinforce those feelings or unhealthy ways of connecting. How can you help your child when neither of you knows what he or she is capable of? One of the best ways I know of is by saying “Show me what happens when you try”. This statement communicates to your child that you are there for him and want to understand what he needs help with, without doing it for him. Then track what behaviours you see.
If your child is clearly in a situation in which he needs help start with the same steps after “”Show me what happens when you try” Pay close attention to something your child is doing that is on the right track and then highlight it by saying Ï see you’ve got……..(action) and you’re (action). Then add “You keep (action) and I’ll (action)… Then when success say “You did it”
So it becomes a simple series of steps
- Say “Show me what happens when you try”
- Use “noticing” to point out your child’s problem solving process – thoughts and actions
- During your child’s attempt, share the work “While you’re doing that, I’ll do this”
- When the task is accomplished, point out success “You did it!”