As a parent, you want to make sure your child has the best childhood possible. You want it to be filled with positive memories, and that can mean a lot of stress on you. Running around from place to place to build the perfect memory lane for your child can be exhausting, especially if you’re doing everything for you and your child.
This might get more accomplished, but it can also teach your child to rely on others to get everything done. Obviously, infants need everything done for them, but as children grow, they become more capable of doing some small tasks on their own. Teaching this independence can benefit them in the long-run and make you feel less stress as a parent.
Before they are comfortable doing some actual tasks their own, it’s a good start to give them options to choose from. This will help them with decision-making down the road and learn from mistakes they might make. One classic example to give as they grow up is “finish vegetables or no dessert.” If you child loves dessert, it might only take a few times for them to make the choice to finish their vegetables on their own without being asked.
Engaging them in more substantial decisions can make them feel more confident and give them skills in reasoning. For example, if you’re checking out some Chicago real estate, take your child with you to see the potential homes. Asking them which they would like for their room and why they like a certain house more will further solidify their ability to think critically.
Let Them Do It
As children grow older, they may seek out opportunities to “do it myself.” When the timing is appropriate, let them! If it’s not appropriate, make time later to give them practice taking on new responsibilities. These can include brushing their own teeth, picking out clothes, dressing themselves, and making easy meals.
You may provide some accommodations at first that still allow them to have the simulation of performing a task on their own. For example, your child may want to pour his own milk and cereal. Instead of hoping he or she doesn’t spill all the contents of a cereal box or milk carton, pour enough of each into smaller cups that the can pour into their bowl. Another option is to let them scoop cereal out of a container with a larger opening to avoid larger messes.
Once your child is in the “do it myself” phase, you can start to add more responsibilities to their repertoire. They can start out small like what was already mentioned and grow into a list they can be proud of. Making a physical list can a great tool to keep them accountable and foster their sense of independence.
Incorporate the other two tips in this process. Allow your child to make the decision of which responsibility they want to take on and offer choices to make it easier. If they insist on adding something you think they’re not prepared for, you can negotiate with them, another skill to develop their sense of independence. In the end, your child should be proud of all they are able to do themselves and take pride each time they accomplish a new task.