Tag Archives: Life skills

Noah’s Courage – TMI

Don’t you just hate it when bloggers insist on sharing potty training experiences either out of pride or desperation?  It makes for  just slightly uncomfortable reading, don’t you think?

Well, phooey.  I’m going to do it anyway.

Noah (6 – with Down syndrome) got up from his nap today and I sent him to go potty.  He came back bare bottomed and headed for his underware drawer.  He pulled out a pair and signed “pee pee.”

I said, “Noah, where’s your underware?

He signed “dirty.”

I went and checked – no sign of the clothes.

“Noah, where is your underware?”

He took me to the washing machine, opened the lid, and there they were.

Sure enough his stuff was wet (not dirty).   Kinda strange cuz he never has accidents at nap time anymore.  For goodness sake, he doesn’t even go to sleep at nap time.  But that’s beside the point.

Back to his bedroom – he lead the way.  He put out new underware and shorts and was raring to go.

So, let’s review.

The kid had an accident.

He realized he had an accident.

He knew he needed to shed the old clothes and come get the new.

Not only did he know the clothes needed to go in the washing machine, he actually PUT them in the washing machine.  (Siblings, take note!)

He put the new clothes on all by himself.

And he communicated several times before, after and during this episode, everything from can I get up, to dirty, to I want to watch TV (all in gestures and sign).

It was like, well, a conversation.


And how about those life skills?  Impressive, eh?

(Don’t tell my other kids about all this – they know I’d be writing a much different post if I was discussing their potty training experiences.)

A Trick to Get Those Shoes on the Right Feet

I saw this little beauty of an idea on Pinterest, and all I can say is it just makes sense.  For all you pinners, you can find the pin here:  http://pinterest.com/pin/234961305530256854/.  The blog post it was pinned from is here:  http://www.smockityfrocks.com/2008/04/putting-shoes-on-right-feet.html Basically, the idea is to take a sticker, cut it in two, and place the pieces on your child’s shoes so that when the left and right are in the appropriate positions, the sticker lines up to make a picture.  Then your child can just slide their feet into the correctly placed shoes. 

Talk about visual cueing!!!

You know, the ability to get shoes on the right feet is a skill we kind of take for granted.  Sure, some kids struggle with it a little longer than others and need more help to learn it, but we all assume they’ll figure it out eventually, and they do. 

For parents and caregivers of people with special needs, this can actually be a momentous milestone because it is one more addition to the list of things our child can do for himself, an activity of daily living he can do independently.  Woo hoo!!!!!   I mean, let’s face it; being able tp put shoes on the right feet is an important life skill.    And if your child can do it himself, it means that’s one less thing on your already overwhelming to-do list just to get out the door in the morning. 

Bella (just turned 4) got this after a few rounds of setting her shoes on the table and asking her to put them so that the dog’s head and tail lined up correctly (sorry, it’s a prism sticker – not the best to photograph.).  Since then it’s been easy peasy to get her to get her shoes on the right feet – all by herself. 

Now, if we could just get her to put her shoes in the right place every night so she could find them when she needed to put them on . . . but that’s another post.  🙂  Now that I think about it, I think someone else will have to write that post.  Most days I can’t even find my own shoes.

I’m game to try this with Noah (5 – Down syndrome), but for now the fact that the stickers are on shoes is throwing him off.  No worries.  It’s given me a good idea for another activity for him.  Coming soon . . .

By the way, don’t forget to leave a comment for me on yesterday’s post, https://wordsofhisheart.wordpress.com/2012/09/10/chore-cards-by-appdads-a-review-and-giveaway/, to register for our free Chore-Card app giveaway – drawing to be held on Monday, September 17, 2012.  Three lucky winners will receive a redemption code for this oh-so-helpful chore system that features scannable cards for your kids.



The Value of Work in the Life of a Child

“(Speaking of Maria Montessori) Montessori stressed the fact that the most important years of growth are the first six years of life.  During this time, what she thought of as ‘unconscious’ learning is gradually brought to the conscious level.  She also stressed the need for activity, explaining that the child has a deep love for purposeful work and a desire to accomplish work for its own sake rather than for profit or in order to complete a job.” — Language Experience for Nursery and Kindergarten Years by Gertrude B. Corcoran.

If we capture our children’s built in love for work when they are young, it is quite possible that we could train them up to be hard workers with good work ethics.  If we practice giving them work jobs when they are young, while they are still eager and curious, work can become a habit instead of drudgery.  In the process, we raise children who at a very early age have the skills they need that will transfer over into being able to complete a job. 

I know, this is a little confusing.  What’s the difference between purposeful work and a job?  In my house, it means I put the stool up at the sink and let Noah fill it up with soap, water, cups and spoons.  I walk away and let Noah explore the water on his own.    The purpose of the experience?  Fun, exposure to the elements of a future job.  Almost every time, Noah reaches for the sponges and has great fun “washing” the dishes.  But getting a clean set of dishes isn’t my expectation – YET.  Now, when he is 6 or 7, he will have already associated sink time with enjoyment, he will have already learned some technique for washing dishes, and he will have the desire to apply what he learned during water exploration to now complete a job I’ve assigned to him of washing the dishes. 

I find that process goes a lot smoother than trying to teach him to wash the dishes at his first exposure to the dishes in the sink the moment he is tall enough to do the work. 

Here’s our work  for today.

Activity:  Hammering.

Skills Practiced:

  1. Hand-eye coordination.
  2. Sorting.
  3. Fine Motor.
  4. Life Skills (hammering).

upplies:  Toy hammer, golf tees in at least two colors, floral craft foam, marbles.







Preparation:  Poke ten shallow holes in the craft foam with a golf tee.  Remove the tee after the hole is made.  These will be the holes your child will initially place the golf tee in to guide it as they hammer.


  1. Set out ten golf tees of at least two colors.  Have your child sort them by color. 

2.  Have your child select a tee and place it into the first hole of the floral foam.  Have them hammer it down until the widest part of the tee is about an inch off the base of the foam.

3.  Now, instruct your child to take the other tees, alternating colors, and repeat step 2 for the remaining holes.  Point out the alternating color pattern of the tees.  If your child is able, allow him to choose which color should come next.

4.  Direct your child to pick up the marbles one at a time and place them on the tees.  This is a bit tricky, but as long as the tees went in fairly straight, the marbles on the tees will work.  I don’t recommend a circular foam like what I used, because when I went to turn it so Noah could reach the remaining tees, all the marbles fell off.  A small rectangular piece of foam would have been better.  If you have marbles that match the colors of the tees, this is another opportunity to match colors.

When it comes time for Noah to learn to hammer a nail, he will already be familiar with the tools, the process and the outcome.  This is a powerful  way to equip our children to be capable, profitable members of our households and societies.  I want that for ALL my children.  What about you?