The course of Bunda Sayang Class for this month is about promoting independence. I agree that independence should be encouraged to children. Promoting independence to children from a young age will shape the children to be a self-reliant individual.

The Process

The challenge of promoting independence is up for one month. I chose my baby to be the subject of the experiment. My source of the challenge is from The Center on the Social and Emotional Foundations for Early Learning (CESFEL) of Vanderbilt University.

According to CESFEL on Teaching Children to Become Independent with Daily Routines, there are several skills that an 8-18-month-old baby often can do. Among other skills in the list, babies often can: (1) drink from a cup, pick up finger food and begin to use a spoon, and (2) Help undress and dress, put foot in a shoe and arms in sleeves. Based on that source, I decide to introduce Alula into two set of skills: self-feeding and independent dressing.

The most important thing to note is, my goal is only to introduce Alula that she can actually does those things by herself. I fully understand that she will take some time to get used to it. Thus, I considered that "the mission is accomplished" based on the process we did together and being consistent with it.

The Journals

The rule of the challenge is one skill one week. In another word, we are expected to put one skill into practice for one week. So, this is what Alula and Mama did:

Self-feeding
Day 1: Learning to Chew
Day 2: Introducing New Food
Day 3: Giving Example
Day 4: The Pincer Grasp
Day 5: The Small Puffs

Self-care: Independent Dressing
Day 6: Introducing Body Parts
Day 7: Pulling Off Socks
Day 8: Pulling T-shirt Off the Head
Day 9: Putting Arms Through Sleeves
Day 10: Putting a Jacket on

What I Learned

There are many things that I learned during the 10 days of challenge.

1. Human development is so exciting
Watching Alula grows as well as closely monitor her skill development was really amazing. She grows up so fast. During the process of reporting my activities of promoting independence to Alula, I ended up browsing and reading scientific journals on human development. It really excites me to the point that I consider to take another degree in early childhood development, hahaha.. (Ameen to that!)

2. Productive communication plays a significant part
Promoting independence to children is a long process. Mama needs to communicate consciously; showing empathy, observe the baby, watch out the voice tones and be patient along the process.

3. Creativity is the key
It turns out that not only Alula who was on the training. Mama was too. Mama learns to be creative to find an exciting way to introduce Alula into self-feeding, like create a song to help Alula learn to chew. I feel like I have a hidden talent: songwriter! hahaha.

4. Learn from others
The good thing from taking this class with other inspiring mommies is I got to learn a lot from them! I found a lot of exciting ideas on how to promote independence after reading others' stories.

The Challenge

1. A challenging subject
My subject of the experiment is an eight-month-old infant. As an infant, Alula relies on me for nourishment, cleaning, and mobility. Well, that is pretty much expected from a little person. So, it's quite challenging in many ways. First, to decide what skills that I wanted her to practice to be independent. Luckily, Alula was around eight-months-old when the challenge started. So, there are at least some skills that began to develop, like grabbing things (which then is helpful for self-feeding), imitating gesture and understand simple commands (which later is helpful for independent dressing). I just can't imagine if Alula is much younger when the challenge is up.

2. Limited time frame
The second challenge is the time frame (one week one skill) is too tight for a baby. Thus, it's hard to monitor the progress in a very limited time. Although we can pass the challenge, I still doubt its effectiveness as the progress was not really apparent.

The Checklist