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But this morning, after morning shower, he went to me with his set of clothes and asked me to put it on. I refused, I said no, and I told him it’s because I knew that he could do it by himself. Surprisingly he became sad and almost cried.
I realized that this is because of what happens in the preschool. Most of the students in the preschool come accompanied by their nannies. From my perspective, the nannies are not taking it easy towards the kids. The nannies cling to the kids, attending to the kids’ request most of the time. The nannies feed the kids, chasing the kids around to spoonfeed them. The nannies take off the kids’ shoes and put on the kids’ clothes. The nannies rush to help when the kids appear to be having difficulty in doing things by themselves.
In Indonesia it is the norm for household helpers to have one dedicated task. Therefore, it’s very common that one toddler is assigned with one nanny dedicated to attend the child’s needs. This nanny’s performance in the eye of the parents is measured by how neatly the child is dressed, how quickly the child finished his food, how the child stays clean, and how the child is not hurt. So they will resort to dressing the child, feeding the child, and clean the child as soon as she becomes dirty. Also to minimize the hassle on their behalf, they would try as much as possible to avoid the kids to become dirty. However, the flipside of this is that it could prevent the kids to learn from their mistakes and further, they could be too dependent on other people.
Every time I accompany Noe to the preschool, I only ask Noe to take off or put on his shoes, and he would do it by himself. Many times, one of the nanny or even the teacher would come to help Noe with his shoes, and I had to scream my heart out saying that Noe can do it by himself, even though it takes him a little longer and not as neat as the other kids (who rely on the nannies to do it for them). Sure, it will take longer for Noe to put on his shoes, but in the long run, he will learn to put it on by himself.
However, today Noe seemed to be so used to seeing other kids getting help in putting their clothes and shoes on. It seems that Noe was an odd case in the school because he’s the only one trying to put his own clothes. He thinks that it’s not right for him to put on his own clothes. He might even think that putting on clothes is an expression of love rather than an act that could reduce his independence. I have tried to talk to him about this but he seems to have difficult in accepting it. I will keep trying to talk to him about this.
I also wonder why I didn’t have this problem in Singapore. Perhaps it’s because the preschool rules is clearer in Singapore, and there’s clear distinction between “preschool” and “home”. The nannies or caregiver are not encouraged to hang around the preschool area, and the kids went home directly after the session. Whereas here in Jakarta, the kids are encouraged to be independent only during the class session and the nannies are waiting outside. But after that, boom, the nannies stormed the kids, shoving the lunch to their mouths while they’re still in the preschool area… and the kids stop being encouraged to be independent, and hence they receives mixed message about preschool.
What should I do?