Sunday, 13 January 2013

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J Summary (3Y10M8D) - Delayed Gratification


At the age of close to 4 years old, J is starting to develop the quality of delayed gratification and self-control. This skill is important as research in an experiment I read somewhere showed that the children who were able to wait with consuming their candy were the ones who did well as adults.

On the way back from the kindergarten on Friday, we passed by the bakery to buy our favourite musli bread for breakfast for Saturday. J got a free chocolate bun from the bakery like usual. He asked for something for dessert after dinner and I said that the chocolate bun would be his dessert, which he could share with Daddy. He asked if he could eat it right away.

I said he could decide to eat it at that moment, and have nothing left for dessert, or he could save it for dessert after dinner, and possibly share it with Daddy. I left the choice to him entirely, telling myself not to be disaapointed if he chose the former rather than the latter. He paused and thought about it. Then he said: "Mommy, can I save it for dessert?" Delighted, but hiding it, I said, "Of course."

The next test came. We went to supermarket to get some grocery, before heading home. All this while, he managed to save the chocolate bun.

The moment we reached home, he asked where the chocolate bun was, and was happy when I showed it to him. I thought, well alright, he would definitely eat it straight away and not hold any longer. Then Joshua said, "Good, Mommy, we did not drop it along the way back. I am going to save it for dessert."

We prepared dinner and Daddy got home. We were about to began dinner, when J wanted to start dinner with the chocolate bun! I said no, main course first. If he ate it, it would definitely spoilt his appetite. J ate his meal and then the chocolate bun. And no, he did not share it with Daddy altough he intially said he wanted to, but I was happy that he managed to delay instant gratification.

On Sunday morning, J asked for pancakes and he loved to see how I make them. Usually he would not be able to wait and would be eating a pancake, while watching me to finish making all the pancakes. But based on the experience on Friday, I said to him that it would be considered as 偷吃 (sorry, for a moment, I could not find the word in English). He waited until all done and ate them only at the breakfast table.

While waiting for me to get all the pancakes done, I requested J to do his homework. I said that he should be focused and trace the letters and color the picture. It seemed that he was happy to do so.

When Daddy said that breakfast was ready, J asked if we could wait as he would like to first finish his homework. So we waited. He put in some seriousness there and completed his colouring before we had breakfast. He managed to delay his gratification for breakfast. All this at his own initiative, and I was touched. Keeping this in my memory bank.

Not all days are like that with so much initiative from J. We have some tough moments with homework and colouring as the one below. I don't always have the energy to insist that he re-do it and for the one below I just let it passed.

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