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Tapestry

Being Patient Does Pay Off!


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Some of you might remember my thread a while ago about children getting messy. I was concerned about the fact that my three year old simply would not get messy, so was really reluctant to participate in a lot of activities. It was interesting to read other practitioner's thoughts. I decided to do all that I could to facilitate her development, not to draw any attention to the fact that she is so meticulous/perfectionist, and to relax and wait it out patiently. I also invested in some of the painting gloves and big textured brushes that I think Helen recommended. I worked with our parent partners (we run a parent co-op nursery for six children) to make sure we were consistent in how we approached this.

 

And what a success!! Gradually she has become less distressed by mess, even to the point of agreeing recently that she needed a painting shirt as she started getting paint on her clothes.

 

At this moment, as I type, she is standing on a chair in our kitchen, painting her hands with glitter paint, and making a production like of handprint glitter paintings! xD:(:( This happened with no suggestion from me, she was painting some tree decorations, and got some glitter on her fingers. Instead of calling me and saying she didn't want to paint any more, or crying, she tried to wipe it off on some black sugar paper, liked the effect, and started experimenting. My husband was supervising, and knew to just take no notice. If he'd even looked, she'd have stopped immediately. Instead, she just gradually painted more, and printed, and experimented, until she was covering the whole hand. (and then upwards towards the elbows :o )

 

What is interesting is that the pictures are all still uniform in use of colours and straight rows and spacing. But she got messy!!

 

It just shows me how true it is that children develop at their own rate. It has also been a great test of patience for me and our parent co-op partners. I've had to work with them to persuade them to not outwardly 'encourage' her, which would have been a disaster. Americans in particular, find it hard to not verbally encourage children and comment on their every move. If anyone draws attention to my daughter, she immediately stops what she's doing and walks off. This has demanded some careful planning and provision. Thank goodness we seem to have succeeded before she starts 'proper' preschool - I am confident that by September I can help her to be able to enjoy getting involved in a variety of activities.

 

Anyone else have a success story they want to share, either about their own child, or one in their setting?

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Well done Nichola-it just shows that you know your own child and how to deal with her.

We have a little boy who is in the process of being diagnosed autistic. He too hated to get messy-didn't, in fact, enjoy texture activities of any kind, wet or dry. He has been with us since last September and we would ask him if he wanted to paint, glue etc. but no he wasn't interested. So we never put the pressure on-always asked but if he said no then we left him. Since coming back to us this September after the summer holidays he has got better and better. And last week he painted a bell and got paint on his fingers and sprinkled it with glitter!! He was not at all upset by this and I am sure it is because we have allowed him to do things in his own time.

Children just need the time and patience of adults. I think we are all getting better at realising that they don't have to produce something to take home. We just need to educate some of the parents!!

Linda

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Linda, it's interesting that the little boy you work with is being diagnosed as autistic.

 

My daughter is far from being autistic, but she does exhibit some autistic-type traits. She is extremely able, and also an excellent communicator with familiar people (shy with others.) However, she does some unusual things in her play that fascinate me. For example, from a very young age, she would line up her toy cars in straight rows according to colour and size before she'd play with them. When she draws, she uses each colour in turn, puts the lid back on, and returns each pen to a straight row. If they are out of order, she knows immediately. If her little sister messes up the system, she can get quite upset. She eats her foods in specific orders, insists on different vegetables being in separate bowls, and has to have an individual fork or spoon for each food. The list is endless. Order and organisation is crucial for her emotional wellbeing. She pays attention to details that no other child in her group would notice. She instinctively recognises mathematical patterns - she could tell me when there were two or three items in a group at about the age of 15 months.

 

The fascinating thing is that many of these habits are really familiar to my husband and he can remember doing the same things as a child. He is now an engineer, and so precise in his work that it's frightening. :o You should see the lego models that they build, sigh. He too sees solutions to mathematical problems instinctively - in fact, when he joined me on one of Alistair Smith's courses, Alistair did an activity where he showed a maths problem and asked the delegates to solve it. It was a trick question, set out so that you thought the answer was obvious. Apparently virtually nobody ever gets the answer correct. Guess whose husband not only got it correct, but also couldnt understand how anybody could possibly have got it wrong? :D

 

My husband also dislikes mess (although he's getting used to it, having two toddlers around LOL) I have a hypothesis that the dislike of mess comes with the territory when people have this sort of orderly, or highly mathematical brain. I recall the few autistic children whom I worked with having a similar issue. However, this is purely anecdotal, and based on my observations.

 

Anyway, we overcame a major hurdle this week - and yes, we will have some Christmas presents that will stun the grandparents! We had her handprints made when she was a baby, and I still feel guilty about how she cried when we did it. Maybe it was that experience that traumatised her....... <_<

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  • 2 weeks later...
  • 4 weeks later...

Oh, what a great picture!! (I just checked in after a month away from the computer - hence the delay in responding.)

 

Steve, I think it will be a while before she gets this messy. In fact, I don't think it will ever happen. Today we went to buy new shoes. She chose some wonderful trainers with flashing lights (cost me an arm and a leg, but that's another issue, once she'd seen the flashing light design, I was never going to persuade her that the ordinary ones were remotely wearable).

 

When we got home, she wore them outside on the patio for ten minutes. She then came in and insisted that I cleaned them, including the soles, because they were dusty. :o I don't know where she got her neat and tidy genes - it certainly wasn't from me. :D

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Hi Nichola

Good to hear from you again.

Could I possibly borrow your daughter to help my 23 year old daughter and 21 year old son to tidy their rooms?? Or at least stand along side them and hope some of her neat and tidy genes rub off!!

Linda

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Honestly, she would try. :o Unfortunately, though, it hasn't had any influence on her sister, who is like a stampede of wild horses rushing through the house, scattering toys in her wake. She definitely didnt get the tidy genes. :D So I'm not sure that it would work on your daughter and son........

 

Can you believe it, she is just three and has NEVER ONCE left a top of a felt pen! Not ever. Not even for a minute. Now, her sister thinks the pen lids were made for throwing around, and regularly eats the felt part off the pen whilst pausing to think about her drawings. She is always covered in ink and her pens rarely work for more than one day. They have to have separate packets of pens, as otherwise we'd have fireworks and nervous breakdowns all around. :D

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What a great thread! Nicola, just be glad she is tidy!!(having the same problems as Linda) Am heavily into learning about schemas. Do you think it relevant to your daughters actions? Lining things up seems to be so but to put them in order of colour too is amazing. We have discovered lots of "dabbers" in the unit.

Steve, I love the Photo! Working with children could never be dull! :) Chris

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