My parents were in town for a visit when I asked my three-year-old to please go around the house and gather all the laundry. My mom looked at me like I had just grown a third eye! When I asked her what the look was for, she kindly said, “oh nothing” and started a different topic of conversation. Little did she know that I was going to have him help me sort the clothes by color, put them in the washing machine, and then put them in the dryer. If I had more patience I’d have him help me fold, but my own OCD gets in the way of that for now.
One day my children will be functioning adults, so I view it as my job to teach them what they need to know to flourish in the world. I want them to be confident in their ability to do things for themselves. We work on life skills daily because
I’m not just parenting for today. I’m raising my children to leave me.
Yes, the thought of this makes me sad, but I would feel like I failed my kids if I saw them struggling with basic tasks as they grow into their teens and go off to college.
At three and six, my kids have age appropriate responsibilities like taking out the trash, cleaning up their area after meals and playtime, getting themselves snacks, dressing on their own, and helping with the laundry. Both of them have the ability to handle all of these tasks with ease. Yes, they still need help brushing their teeth and washing their bodies and doing some of their chores, but I encourage them to be functioning members of our household. It makes my life, and theirs, so much better.
The more I can teach them to behave nicely at a restaurant, or to be kind to others and to experience new things, the easier it will be to continue to add to their repertoire of life skills they can accomplish on their own.
When people comment how well behaved they are, or how much they can do on their own, I think to myself, isn’t that the whole point of this parenting thing? Try it. Encourage your kids to do things on their own, applaud their willingness to try and capitalize on their want to be helpful to you or around the house. You’ll be shocked at their abilities and thrilled with how proud you are of them and they are of themselves. I am raising my tiny people to become independent, fully functioning humans, and I hope you are doing the same. They, and the world, will thank you for it later!