Raising kids is hard! While all moms have their own way of parenting, I think we can all agree that life would be so much easier if there was some kind of manual. If only there was a way to have one size fits all to help us raise our kids.
Unfortunately, there is no guide. All children are different and all moms feel they’re doing their best to raise amazing little men and women. Truth is, our job is to make our children independent so that they can take care of themselves.
I want my kids to stay babies forever. But because I know that’s not going to happen, my goal is to help them be self-sufficient and as independent as possible. I want them to be able to wash their own clothes, make their own meals, and grow according to or above their developmental age.
How do we do that?
The first step in raising independent children is to believe that they can do it. When my 7-month-old began climbing the stairs in our townhouse, I had two options. I could have stopped her to avoid an accident. Or I could stand by and watch her natural ability shine. I chose the latter. I wanted to see how far she could go without me. She went all the way up to the second floor without a single slip up. That was the beginning of her fearlessness when it came to athletic activities. Had I stopped her because of my fear, I would have made her dependent only on me to move around the house. I gave her freedom.
When you watch your child, the activities they choose may surprise you. Whether it’s allowing your 4-year-old to crack an egg or your 6-year-old to make her own sandwiches or allowing your 10-year-old to help dad change a tire, you’ll be surprised at what your kids can do. Believing your child can do it is the first step.
When your child shows an interest in anything, we have an amazing opportunity to teach them something new. I know we’re tired, busy, and honestly, it would be much faster if we washed the dishes, made lunch, did laundry, or whatever other chores ourselves. But how cool is it that our little ones want to help? We all know that won’t always be the case so take advantage now.
And take the time to teach them to do it properly. It’s important to understand that they will make mistakes. When my daughter said she wanted to do the laundry, I let her load the washer. She didn’t know the difference between the washer and dryer and loaded a huge load of dirty clothes into the dryer. Wouldn’t have been so bad except I still hadn’t taken out the last load from the dryer. I was not happy. But it was my fault. I neglected to do my part in her independence. I forgot to teach. This is so important so that they feel confident and want to do it again.
Building a child up is huge. They don’t know that they’re doing it right but they want to make you proud. They’re looking for Mom or Dad to say, “Wow, great job, buddy!” These words give them a boost and make them enjoy helping. We all like someone telling us we did a good job. But as adults, we don’t need it as much. Our little ones are learning new things and they don’t know if it’s a good thing or not.
Some kids are fine with a “Good job!” But others need a different type of reward. You know your child more than anyone. Does he love spending quality time with you? Schedule a date night for some ice cream with your little one if he does his chores that week. Do they love cute toys? Have them collect stickers for a toy they’ve been wanting. You can choose the reward or you can ask your child what he or she would prefer. You set your deadline and how many points they must accumulate. And when they help out on chores around the house, give them something they’d love.
Did these tips help? Do you agree? Disagree? Have you tried any of these before? Leave a comment below. Let’s start a discussion.