I think it's so important for all children to learn about helping and giving to others and I'm particularly keen for Natty to understand this message. We do a lot of fundraising for local and national Down's Syndrome charities, mainly for speech therapy provision and to support other parents, but I don't want Natty to think that she is exempt from helping others.
One of the greatest mantras that stays with me from my teaching days is that THE PROCESS, NOT THE PRODUCT is the most important part of any activity. Learning to learn, create, be independent takes precedent over the end product itself.
So, Natty covered the box in tin foil herself after I had cut strips, then carefully arranged things inside which we had chosen from the cupboards together, including her home-grown onions.
I resisted the temptation to 'help' make it all look 'artistic', according to me. I crossed my fingers that the teachers and recipients would understand what we had done and not think I'd lazily chucked a handful of things in a box as I ran through the door on Monday morning.
Thankfully they did, and I was so pleased we'd done it this way.
The chore was carried out independently and Natty was left feeling proud of her achievement. This is the approach we are using with homework too now that Natty is getting some each week. If you take a few minutes to think about and set up the activity, then your child can do the rest by themselves.
We have to know when it's best not to interfere as parents, don't we?