When my son was about 2 years old, he decided one day that he didn’t want me to help him get dressed.
“I DO! I DO,” he shouted, as he struggled to get into his pants and long-sleeved shirt. When he finally got his little hands and feet through the holes and popped his head out of the neck of the shirt, he proudly yelled again, “I DO! I DO!” And at that moment, you could literally see the confidence he had in himself.
When children are able to do things like getting dressed to chores to eventually getting themselves up and out the door on their own, their confidence soars. Allowing children to succeed with these little things is one of the best ways to increase their confidence. But what do you do, as a parent, to help them learn these processes so they can do it on their own successfully? The answer lies in 6 words:
I Do – We Do – You Do
The “I do, we do, you do” method of teaching, also called gradual release of responsibility, is a tried and true method done in schools and businesses across the country to teach students and new trainees different tasks. Its simplicity allows us, as parents, to do the same thing with our children when teaching them a new responsibility which, in turn, will allow their confidence to grow.
The first phase, “I Do,” is where you, as a parent, show your child how to do the task. For example, let’s say that you want your child to assume the responsibility of taking out the garbage. You would show them how you want it completed while also explaining to them verbally what your expectations are.
In the second phase of gradual release responsibility, you do the task together. While explaining to your child what your expectations are, they are taking out the garbage.
The last phase of I do-we do-you do has the child do the task by themselves while you supervise to determine the level of mastery.
Depending on the nature of the task, the “I do” and “We do” phases may have to be repeated several times until your child is ready for the “You do” part.
Once the child is permanently in the “You do” part, you’ll see how they can become confident to not only do the newly learned task, but to also be willing to try and do new things, too! And, you FINALLY get someone else besides you to empty the garbage. ♂️