The more bathroom independence Em develops, the more crucial it's becoming to reinforce this bodily-kinesthetic, interpersonal, and intrapersonal skill. As all moms know, we can't be there all the time! In fact, for me, now that Em is capable of going to the bathroom by herself, I prefer it that way! Of course, bathroom independence comes with a whole new line of parenting. I hear, "Mooooooommm, I need yooooouuuuur HELP" bellowing from the bathroom almost daily. Bathroom trips are usually followed with the ever important question, "Did you wash your hands?" which is followed with a "yes",(even though I know I heard the water turn on for maybe five seconds) which is then followed with," Do I need to do a mommy check?" Don't get me wrong, when Em started potty training, I dove right in and modeled a hand-washing routine that involved myself and her always washing our hands. Unfortunately, in her ever growing independence, our routine isn't quite sticking without the watchful eye of a grown-up. And if you are wondering why this is a big deal even at home, I will simply say two words: toddler wiping. This should probably give you a visual image as to why it's important. Remember, these toddlers then come touch everything in the house!!
My goal for Em is hand-washing be a habit, just like second nature(naturalist). My brain began wracking the following question, 'How can I invest Em in the development of a hand washing routine that will promote her independence with personal hygiene, be developmentally appropriate, FUN, and change the constant mommy responses from questioning to praising?"
I came up with the following idea: a visual chart for the bathroom. Em helped me construct the chart.
After gathering the supplies, I called Em to the table and said we were going to make a chart(spatial intelligence) together to help her remember all the steps people do when they wash their hands. Seeing a table full of supplies always seems to intrigue her. In front of Em, I modeled folding the paper into 4 even squares(fold the paper in half, and then in half again). Unfold paper and cut along the crease lines to make 4 squares(logical-mathematical).
Since, our routine has already been established, I asked her leading questions like, "What do we do first when we wash our hands?" She replied, "we get them wet." I labeled one of the squares with a 1 to represent the first step. I drew something that resembled the faucet and then drew water droplets. She even drew one of the droplets. I continued asking leading questions for each step. I labeled each step with a description word(water, soap, sing, dry) to exercise her linguistic skills. She added her personal touch to each square.
We sing the ABC song to help make sure a proper amount of time is used for scrubbing. Em added bubbles to this card. This simple moment in time is also exercising her musical and linguistic intelligences.
The step she got stuck on is the one she always forgets..DRY your hands :) On this card she drew the shape of the towel and colored it the color of our bathroom towels(logical-mathematical and spatial).
We taped the pictures near our sink and ,voila, we were done.
~Happy hand washing,