Monday, 23 April 2012

Child led learning

At some point, I suppose, I'm going to have to start teaching my children something that is dictated by a syllabus, rather than their whims, if they are ever going to pass exams.

That said, my children are very small, and it's a long way off, so I might just bury my head in the sand a little longer and allow them to lead the educational way.

It's easy enough to do when you have a four year old who loves to read by himself, enjoys problem solving games and wants you to explain how a volcano works. It's harder to do when you have a willful 18 month old who is determined to use a potty.

Cosmo wasn't potty trained until he was nearly four, but one day he just decided he was ready, we had no accidents and that was that. He never looked back. The problem is, Lychee saw this and now thinks she'd like to have a go to. In fact she has been keen to have a go since february, but I made her wait until half term. I felt like having my husband home (he's a teacher) for three and a bit weeks would give me time to stay at home and get her trained, whilst we took turns to go out for things like groceries.

The theory was good, the problem is that despite wanting to use a potty, Lychee isn't really verbal enough to tell us when she wants to use a potty. The result is that whilst we are at home, with no pants on, she will wander around occasionally pottering over to use the potty, give herself a clap, then get on with her day. All well and good, but we can't leave the house.

Once she puts pants on, she can't get them off and can't find a way to communicate to us that she wants them off. The result is usually that she will sit on the potty to wet her pants, but at a friends house (despite the potty being in the middle of the room) she felt like it was okay to sit down and pee anywhere - thankfully with five children of their own, they were very understanding friends!

In situations like this I want to give up. It's stupid. She can't even talk or pull her pants down. She is too young to potty train. But she really wants to.

That's when I have to remember 'baby steps'.

When I wanted to organise my life I took on FLYlady's mantra of 'baby steps', meaning that bit by bit I would get organised, without beating myself up over what isn't done, but just regularly introducing new habits until everything was done.

Instead of being frustrated that I have to put Lychee back in a nappy to go to the shops, I should be grateful that we now use about 70% less diapers than we used to (that's a huge financial saving right there), and that she is learning to use the potty and preferring that to feeling wet. It's a small step towards potty training, that may still be several months away, but we are closer than we were.

She might not be trained over night, and I'm sure we'll have more accidents than we did with Cosmo, but she'll definitely be trained earlier (I've got two more years to make that target) which will in the end save us a lot of money, but more importantly it isn't a battle. This isn't something I have to fight her on. She wants to do it.

In fact, I even caught her trying to empty the potty herself today. She spilled it on the tiles (thank goodness not the carpet!) and by the time I went to get a nappy to clean it with she was already there with a tea towel trying to pat it dry.

They grow up so fast!


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