“Habitually doing things for your child that [they're] capable of doing [themselves] sends an inadvertent message that you don’t have confidence in [their] abilities”
One of our biggest jobs as Parents and Caregivers is to foster independence in our children. Fostering independence creates confident and capable tiny humans with high self-esteem.
Two MAJOR things you can do for your child when dropping them off and picking them up from our program are:
1. Let your children carry their own belongings. It's their lunch and their coat and their backpack and once you leave, its their responsibility.
2. Let your child write their own name and date on their lunches in the morning. It doesn't have to be perfect, but this task is something that they have to remember and is a great way for the younger ones to practice writing their names and the date - two major skills in school.
Adding more responsibilities to your child’s routine
When you get ready to ask your children to take on more tasks for themselves it can be exhausting for both you and your child. Your child now has something else to remember to do and you have to convince your child to take on this task. Another hurdle to overcome as the adult in this situation is coming to terms with the fact that the job is not going to be done perfectly. You might have to run the dishwasher again because the dishes weren’t loaded “correctly” or the laundry has to get refolded or your child showed up to school with their shirt on inside out and backwards AND THATS OK. Its ok to not have things done perfectly. With time and practice your children will get better at these tasks and soon, the dishwasher will only have to be ran once, the laundry will be folded nicely and in their drawers and when they go to school, they will have a shirt on that matches their pants! I don’t know if they will ever have matching socks on, that one you might have to give up on.
Getting over everything being perfect
Is it a BIG DEAL or a LITTLE DEAL?
I learned this question from a good family friend when I was young. The way you define these are key. This question can set you free if you let it
Big Deal (v.) - Broken bones, bleeding, or something that might land you in jail.
Little Deal (v.) - Everything else.
This is the BEST tool to have in your arsenal when trying to not sweat the small stuff, for your kids and yourself. Your child did their own hair today and its three frizzy pony tails instead of two smooth ones… no blood, no broken bones, not going to jail…[deep breath] ITS FINE! in the car we go and off to school!
A couple things to keep in mind:
Sometimes your child is not feeling well or is overly tired and doing things for themselves is just not gonna work out at this moment. Thats ok! sometimes we all need a little break.
Don’t dump 100 new tasks on them in one day. Small steps towards independence is going to work much better in the long term. Try adding one task a week, or add a task and wait until they have a good handle on it and then add another. You might be surprised at how much your child is capable of.
Just imagine, your child leaves for college and when they come to visit, the don’t bring laundry!