Just Hang On…Literally

As I’ve talked about before, when Eddie wasn’t independently mobile it was hard to introduce him to new things. He wasn’t seeking out new environments, because he wasn’t able to look outside of arm’s reach. Therefore, everything he explored was presented to him, or happened to end up near him.

Now, he is walking around the house by himself. He is able to navigate all the rooms in our home, and will happily go through cupboards or examine countertops. With this new sense of adventure, he also will seek us out often, and then want us to either play a game, or help him with something.

In my previous blog, I explained how I often encourage him to go off by himself if he is just looking for an escort. However, if he is looking for something to do, or somebody to play with, I can’t always drop everything to attend to Eddie. This dilemma I find myself in has led to a new teaching experience for me, and a new learning experience for Eddie.

If I am doing the dishes, sweeping, folding laundry, or simply picking up the house, I am on a roll, and really don’t want to stop. I also realize these are all chores that Eddie needs to learn. My thought recently was that the teaching of said activities should commence. So, instead of being redirected by Eddie when he tracks me down, I simply tell him to “hang on.”

Eddie will grab onto my shirt, or sometimes the broom handle, and I explain the chores as they are being done. He can help when able, and I keep chatting while I’m working. This is a drastic change from him just sitting in the kitchen while I talk. He is learning that I move all over the place while cleaning up, and that each task involves a lot of steps that make up one chore.

This is yet another push towards independence, and it helps me get some things done around the house. I found out that when Eddie gets bored with the task at hand, he simply lets go and wanders off to do his own thing. He really just wants to be mobile, and often with the company of an adult. By letting him “hang on,” we are both getting our needs met.

My next step is to implement this new activity into Eddie’s own “chore chart.” My daughters both have a system for earning stickers, but Eddie has yet to benefit from my new found chore strategy. I think if he sticks with me for the majority of a chore, and listens to me chatter, he should earn a sticker for himself. He is starting to learn some life-long skills, and I can’t think of anything more sticker-worthy than that.