This week I had a break through! For so long I have spent my days constantly saying ‘no’ to Alfie. Molly wants to sit and play, Alfie wants to tidy away or throw things. Some days I find myself so frustrated and turning into ‘Shouty Mum.’ I hate it, but a lot of the time I am at a loss as to what to do. I think I am now getting some sort of understanding of schemas and this week I was really impressed with myself.
We have the same routine each night before bed, the kids have tea then play for a while whilst I tidy away and get their pyjamas out, then we have a bed time story. I got the puzzles out and Molly wanted to do quite a complicated one so I knew she would need some help. Alfie was playing with some foam letters so I sat with Molly and started to get the pieces out for her puzzle. Within a few minutes Alfie came bounding over and wrecked what little of the puzzle we had done and started putting everything back in the box. Normally he would be told off for this, Molly instantly started to cry at her hard work being undone. Instead of my usual response I explained to Alfie that it was not nice to ruin the puzzle but we could find him something to ‘pack away’ if he wanted. I then found him a box of Peppa Pig dominoes and put them out on the floor. He sat and one by one put them away in the box, all the right way round. He was so involved in what he was doing it was amazing to watch. Molly was able to complete her puzzle in peace and Alfie gave himself a big clap when all the dominoes were back in the box! I felt really proud that I was able to recognise Alfie’s needs at this point and get him an activity that suits his containing schema.
Alfie must have sat for a good twenty minutes totally engrossed in packing these away! He very rarely sits on his own and plays so it was lovely to have some time to help Molly with her jigsaw without Alfie sitting on my knee and constantly pulling everything apart.
I am starting to notice schemas emerging in Alfie’s play a lot more now, he is mainly displaying a containing schema; a containing schema basically means “putting themselves or objects or materials into different containers” but he also shows a scattering schema too, he loves to throw things and spread things out all over the floor/table, then he puts them all away again!
As I am learning more I am really seeing how much this is going to help me to understand my children’s needs. It is fascinating looking at their play and analysing it.
Molly and Alfie really are polar opposites in the way that they play and I do find it frustrating trying to keep them both entertained. I finally feel like I might just be getting there though!