Mom's help? Only this much.

As parents, we struggle. We would like to help our child. But how much is too much? At the end of the day, our task is to make them independent and ready for the world. Here is some guidance from our resident child development specialist.

1. Ensure success
This doesn’t mean making things too easy. It means, you should gradually extend the challenge. If your child can remember three objects in a memory game, but not four, play the game again. Soon she will be ready for four.

2. Provide just enough help
If you take over saying, ‘let me do it ’, you convey a hidden message that she isn’t competent. But never leave the child struggling. Give as much help as the child needs and no more. It is an important and delicate balance.

3. Be sensitive
It is important to reinforce that mistakes are a part of learning. Use phrases like, ‘we all learn from mistakes. What can we learn from this?’ Or, ‘Well, that didn’t quite work out right, let’s see why.’ This helps the child see that mistakes are not the end of the world.

4. Encourage rather than praise
If your response is, ‘good girl’, she will want to do things to please you. What we need to build is self-motivation. So give encouragement that contains helpful advice. For example, ‘well done, you succeeded because you looked carefully’. Or, ‘you got that well because you did it a bit more slowly.’

5. Encourage methodical thinking
Think things aloud yourself. Such as, ‘I wonder why that is?’ Then wait for the explanation. If you provide the answers, then the child will think that answers lie in what the adult thinks. The child will then learn to wait for answers rather than thinking it out for himself/ herself. Prompt the child to think deliberately and methodically. Help her with the words she needs for encouragement.

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