Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Learning to honor Ian’s emotions

I think our move has affected Ian more than usual. Usually changes impact Ian’s sleep (or better said, worsen it, because he is a bad sleeper). This time our moving has made him quite bad tempered. Ian is an active child but now he seems hyperactively. His attention span has decreased, he’s been disobedient, reacting very badly when I call him to order: throwing things, kicking and hitting. I don’t know if it’s just the “terrible two’s” or if our relocation has exacerbated it.

At times I forget that he does not have an appropriate vehicle of self-expression and I was punishing him with time-outs, getting caught up in power struggles. Even when those punishments made Ian calmer, they made me feel sad. So, I’ve been trying to identify and acknowledge the feeling behind Ian’s behavior and I came to the conclusion that he is very upset because with the move he has not received much attention from all us and of course we are imposing too many changes in a short time.

Now I am trying to be more empathetic to Ian’s feelings. It is taking lots of self-control from myself and I know I will need much more along with experimentation and practice. I also decided to slow down arranging our stuff in the house to spend more and better time with him. That made Ian peaceful and more willing to do some learning activities. Here is a review of them:

Cookie cutter silhouette matching. I traced the silhouette of some cookie cutters in a paper to let Ian match them with the cutters. This activity was an easy one for him and he enjoyed more sticking adhesive tape along the border of the paper. He is very much into cutting the tape by himself and sometimes he gets it.

Sorting the cutlery. As a first exercise I gave Ian spoons and forks to sort and he had no problem. Later, I let him try the spoons, forks and knives (no sharp ones of course). He sorted them pretty well. For both exercises we used two sizes of forks and spoons, but I didn’t show Ian how to separate the sizes and he didn’t discriminate between them. Next time, I will ask him to attempt to sort them by size.

Sorting flowers by color in spice bottles. The first time I set up this activity was six weeks ago and Ian was unable to do it, he was not interested in trying more. Now, the sorting is the easier part and he needs more concentration to insert the stems into the holes of the spice bottles. Once more, everything in its time.
Puzzles. Ian has been working with these four-pieces puzzles for long time and each time he needs less help from me to complete them. When he finishes, he likes to put them in a row, admires his work and calls out the names of the figures.

Floats and sink. Ian has been playing a lot with water lately and one of the things that catches his attention is putting different objects into water, pushing them down and observing what happens. He did this by himself. So I decided to prepare some extensions.

For the first experiment we used leaves and very small pebbles. Ian floated a leaf and tried to put as many pebbles on as possible until the leaf sinks under the weight.

He worked patiently putting the pebbles on the leaves for a while. Then he decided to rush the experiment and dropped all the pebbles from the container.
And here is a photo showing how our science session finished (lol)
For our second experiment I prepared two “boats”, one with cork and the other with a piece of Styrofoam; for both I made the sail with a leaf on a pin. I put the “boats” on the water with the idea of just letting it float for a while and then show Ian how to blow it with his mouth. But Ian wanted to continue the previous experiment and in one second flat he disarmed my boats. So I gave him different objects for a free experience.

By the way, the first time I attempted this activity was when we just started Montessori at home and I still thought Ian would follow the lesson. I took my time to prepare everything including the cards with labels “sink” and “float” following strictly the instructions of an album. I invited my little piggy for an “exciting activity” :-) and as soon as he saw the materials, he put all the objects in the bowl with water including the cards :-) ; he didn’t even observe his “work” and left the room immediately. I didn’t know if I should laugh or cry … but, I laughed heartily.
Peeling beans. Ian loves to peel shells and I love to observe him while he does this. He is very focused and ordered. Well, last week, he peeled beans. I broke a bit of the outer pod and he split it open and extracted the individual beans. When he finished, he was not done yet! He also peeled the skin off the beans. If you like beans, I recommend let your children try this activity. It is an excellent exercise to improve fine motor skills, concentration and order.

Ian also loves to separate and wash the florets of broccoli. I did some superficial cuts to make it easier for Ian who has to use a bit of strengh to get the florets.

The last things that we moved to our new home were the flowerpots and Ian was so happy to have them again because he really enjoys taking care of the plants.

And challenging his balance


  1. You are doing such a great job following Ian!! I really like those puzzles, and the version of sink or float.

  2. Thanks for linking up! Yet again I'm inspired by how many everyday practical life activities you engage Ian in - thanks! :)



Related Posts with Thumbnails