Loading...Loading...
Discover the secret of childhood from 0-3 year old:

3-4 years old

What To Do When Your Toddler Won’t Put on Clothes

Friday, May 24th, 2013 12:30 pm | By Stephanie Woo

My toddler refuse to put on clothes

Dr. Montessori says, “Follow the child.” I adhere strictly to this point of view. Except when it comes to my children staying warm. 

I feel my children are always cold. All the overdressed Asian children on the playground hint at perhaps it’s an Asian thing. As soon as the temperature drops below 72, I want to see everyone in socks and an extra layer. It’s not uncommon to see me tackling my children and forcing them to put on a jacket OR threatening them in numerous ways if they don’t put on their socks. I’ve lost my temper more than once with my nanny or husband as I yell, “The children’s hands are freezing!” Getting dressed in the morning has devolved into something that I do to the children. I know they can dress themselves, I have videos of them doing it that you’ve seen, but for some reason, they just won’t do it anymore. Recently, there is more struggle in our house over putting on clothes than anything else

Two days ago, my friend Brenda and her five-year-old daughter, Gerren, came to stay with us. We were all getting ready to go out when I saw Gerren walk outside only to come back in. She said, “It’s cold outside. I’m going to put on my coat.” Speechless, I looked at Brenda, who explained that she has never forced Gerren to put on a coat. “She knows when she’s hot or cold,” Brenda said matter-of-factly. 

I then called my cousin, Daisy, for advice. She said three words: “Trust. Your. Children.”

I was ready for a change. I told my husband and nanny that from now on, we would ask the children one time in the morning (which is when the house at its coldest) if they wanted to put on warmer clothes, if they say no, we would not force them. And before going out, we would not dress any of the children for them. If someone was not dressed by the time we were ready to go out to play, then an adult would stay home with that child. I then explained all of this to the children, who looked at me and nodded. 

The next morning, while I hung out in my cashmere sweater and wool socks, Mackenzie decided that she wanted to be naked. This lasted for three hours. Brooke wore one thin layer the entire day. I kept my promise and said nothing. Before we went out, I said to them very calmly, “Mama is going to get ready right now. After I’m done, I’m going to the park. If you want to come, then you need to change into these clothes. If you do not have your clothes on by the time I’m ready, you will stay home with Ayi (our nanny).” They got distracted a couple times, but with one quick reminder from me and another from their nanny, they proactively dressed themselves from head to toe. 

It turns out I was the one who needed to change. I was responsible for creating the power struggle because I thought I knew better. I was forcing them to put on clothes because I didn’t want them to get sick. I let go of those fears and trusted that they know best whether they are hot or cold. As I’m writing this one week later, we’ve had no struggle over clothing (and no one is sick). I’m still in shock over how smoothly things are going in this regard. 

If right now, you and your children are struggling over something, stop looking at what’s wrong with them. It is YOU that needs to do the changing. And when you do, so will they. 

For those of you with young children: Peace. Is. Possible.

We Started Gardening! Part II

Tuesday, April 16th, 2013 7:09 pm | By Stephanie Woo

M and Dad are back from the mountains. First they have to mix the dirt they dug up from the mountains with store-bought organic soil to create the optimal soil mixture. M helps Dad cut open the package of store-bought soil with her Muji scissors.

M scoops in soil from the bag, while Dad dumps in dirt from the mountain. 

M crawls into the bucket to help mix the dirt and soil.

Dad dumps the soil mixture into the trough. M helps to smooth it out.

We’ve been collecting vegetable scraps for two days. They add it to the soil as worm food. It’s raining and M looks pooped in this picture, but trust me, in real life, she’s still going!

Dad adds the worms to the soil. Apparently, these red wrigglers help produce the best planting soil. We think we might even start a worm farm! Dad covers up the worms and food with another layer of soil. The worms need one week to do their magic before we start planting. 

The next day, we add more worms. Even B can’t resist getting involved – once you get past the ‘ewww’ factor, they are really fun. Even I’m hooked!

If you’re looking for a reason to plant with your children, consider these benefits:

  1. Sensorial exploration (wet, cold soil and wriggly worms)
  2. Gross motor skill development (treading wet mountainous soil while carrying a pail and shovel)
  3. Fine motor skill development (cutting, scooping, mixing, spreading vegetable scraps, picking up small worms)
  4. Appreciation for nature/cycle of life (composting, preparing the soil, planting)
  5. Language development (‘gardening trough,’ ‘composting,’ ‘prepping the garden bed,’ ‘red wrigglers,’ ‘starter plants,’ ‘clay soil’ vs ‘sandy soil’ – even I had to learn these!)

But my favorite part of this whole process is watching how much effort M puts into it. She uses her whole body to dig, transfer, mix and pat. There’s nothing better than watching young children use maximum effort to engage in tasks they’re interested in. And after a few hours of work like this, M (who usually hates napping) is out like a light-bulb at nap time and stays asleep for THREE straight hours! 

More gardening posts to come!

We Started Gardening! Part I

Thursday, April 11th, 2013 11:59 pm | By Stephanie Woo

I’m a city girl. As a child, I grew up in a condo building in Taipei. As an adult, for 20 years, I lived in New York City. So if you ever tried to talk to me about gardening, worms, dirt and nature in general, I would’ve tried to change the subject on you. 

Well, now that I live in Portland, I’ve decided to do “as the Romans.” Almost everyone here has a garden. If you are not composting, raising a worm farm and eating dinner out of your garden, then seriously, don’t you care about the environment?? 

So, after much research, discussion with seasoned locals and Youtube videos, we decided to give this ‘grow your own food’ a shot. 

First, we went to the famous Portland Nursery and bought a whole bunch of ‘starters,’ or baby plants. You just have to transplant them into your garden and they’ll grow into fruits and vegetables! I sat there envisioning a garden full of food I’d want to eat. We ended up settling on some strawberries, bok choy, spinach, carrots, scallions and napa cabbage. I really would have preferred some watermelons, figs, kiwi and chocolate cake, but apparently Mark thinks we should start with the basics. He’s soo conservative sometimes. 

Of course we decided to involve B and M (now 2 years, 4 months) in the process. And when I say ‘we,’ I mean my husband, Mark. I followed everyone around and took pictures. 

So before you plant, you need something to plant in. Mark decides to build our own gardening troughs. After a trip to Home Depot, he showed up with all these cedar planks and got to work. Whenever he builds things, he thinks of ways for the children to help. Here he is screwing in castor wheels and the girls are helping fetch the screw and lining them up in the hole.

B lines up the screw

 

B holds the screw in place

 

Dad uses an electric drill to screw in the screws

 

The finished gardening trough!

Next, we put on our rain boots, grab our pail and shovel, then go for a short 30-second hike into the mountains (right behind our house). Oh, by the way, we tried to buy dirt at the nursery, but they didn’t have any to sell! I’m not used to that. I’m used to New Yorkers who will selling you anything you ask for. Oh well. We decide we’ll go digging for our own.

B, M and Dad digging for dirt in the mountains

 

B had enough. She said, “Dirty. Brooke wants to go home.” Just like that, she picks up her pail and goes home.

 

Dad and M keep going. M is using the smallest shovel you’ll ever find in the stores. Small yet mighty effective!

To be continued…