I can’t believe how I can!

We’re trying something new with Benjamin:  an “accomplishment chart”.  We’ve made a list of the things that he’s working on accomplishing, like dressing himself, drinking milk from a cup, and using the potty.  Every time he does one of those things, he gets a sticker (which he gets to choose and apply to the chart himself, which he loves) and after every 10 stickers he adds, he gets a present.  The presents started out as little things I’d had around the house that I’d been meaning to give him — new sheets for his bed, new pajamas, a truck — and I’ve progressed to toys and books he’s been asking for that didn’t quite make the Christmas cut.

He loves it.  He’s completely figured out the system, and is looking for ways to gather as many stickers as possible.  He can get 5 or more stickers per day just for putting his shoes on by himself, so he’s been collecting nearly a present a day.  (Just yesterday, he suggested a new skill for the chart:  putting on his own diaper.  He is also now wearing socks to bed every night.  Smart kid.)  We started it because they’ve been insisting at school that he put his shoes on himself when they go outside to play.  He’s capable of doing it, but he doesn’t always want to.  He was starting to get really frustrated because of it, and I really didn’t want to mess up any of the “I like school” progress we’ve made.  In solidarity with the school, we wanted to also insist that he put his shoes on by himself (otherwise, Mommy and Daddy are “nice” and the school is “mean”, and that’s not setting anyone up for success) but we took the opportunity, over Christmas break, to get him used to the idea that putting his shoes on meant good things would happen, not just that we would get our way and he wouldn’t.

Of course, as time goes on, we’ll have to stop giving stickers for things (otherwise, I think he’ll end up with a car of his own before he starts kindergarten), but for now, he’s building a tremendous amount of confidence and having a great time doing it.  Yesterday, after dressing himself completely for bed (including diaper) and drinking milk at the table with his dinner (all of which earned him 5 stickers) he proudly presented himself to me and said, “Mommy!  I can’t believe how I can!”

I, too, am impressed at how much he can do by himself, and I am beyond thrilled to see how proud he is.