Our first week's assignment was some skill building with line drawing and a writing prompt. Both of these are activities we have done before so we were ready to hop right in.
I took two pieces of construction paper and drew wavy lines, jagged lines, castle lines and straight lines. We did our Structured Play time after nap and Jake was a little grouchy. I read a few books first to attempt to loosen him up but he was still not exactly cooperative. I asked him to trace the lines. I helped him with the first line and then he deliberately drew straight over the second line, trying to get a reaction. I just said, "Wow, you did not do as I asked but you drew a straight line, that is really good. I wonder if you can draw a wavy line too?" He didn't exactly jump right in but he did participate.
And on to the next side of the paper... you can see where his attitude was. At this point I could have put it away and said we would try it again another time. I did not want to do that today because I could tell from his attitude that he was not frustrated or unable to do the task but rather acting out. I did not want to put it away because I thought that would reinforce the negative behavior.
Jake thinking-'I don't do what I am told to do, act out and be rude, then I don't have to do what I don't want to do!'
If he were frustrated and having trouble it would have been a different story but this was him being grouchy. I did not get angry or yell. (Which is what you want to do sometimes!!!!) But instead I tried to turn around the activity and his attitude. I said, "Those jagged lines look like mountains and your line looks like a road. I wonder what is happening on that road?" I know he loves roads, trucks, construction, etc... so I thought this might spark some interest.
He went on to tell me a story about the "picture" you see above. The picture was not a story when he drew it - he was just scribbling to irritate me, but he was able to use his imagination from my prompt to tell a story. So we did our next task.
I wrote the story he told me at the bottom of the paper. I asked him to retell it as I wrote. I was very deliberate while I wrote, saying each word slowly so he could see that the letters represented words. I did not push him to tell me more about the picture this time since he was obviously not in the mood to be pushed! This excited him enough to keep going with our line project on the other paper.
We did straight lines next, which are easy for him. Then went to the castle lines.
He needed help with these lines. I held his hand for the first and he did the other two by himself. He was ready to be finished after this and ready to move on to something else. This was probably not the best day to do this and I do encourage parents not to push too hard and to keep Structured Play fun. But there is a time and place to push enough for your child to engage and to learn that sometimes they need to do what is asked of them even if they do not want to do it right then! I have seen too many families lately where the children rule the roost and I am on high alert with my kiddos to make sure that is not happening at our house too.
I posted this picture on a previous post to help you understand the appropriate hand grip for your child's age. As you can see from my photos, Jacob is holding in the Digital Grasp which is right at his age level. He will be 3 this month. If your child is holding with an inappropriate grasp for his/her age then you can show/ help them hold it in an age appropriated way. I would not push too hard to have them hold the pencil/crayon the way you hold it yet. This is a developmental motor skill that cannot be rushed. If the child is not ready it will not happen no matter how hard you push. It does not always relate in years but rather development so if they are having trouble in their appropriate age grasp then you might first try some motor skill builders for the hands before too much pushing with the grasp. (Hope that makes sense)
Overall I found our pre-writing practice successful. He did the tasks and he learned a lesson. There was no yelling or crying- the activities stayed fun even if he was pushed a bit! Can't wait for next week's pre-writing activities.
Check out Cherrios and Lattes Wednesday for the next set of tasks.