One minute we’re wishing our kids would grow up and the next we’re wishing we could stop the clock.
Although we’d love a bit more breathing space, we’d do anything to keep them little forever. Unfortunately, unless someone invents a time machine, there’s no going back and the day will come when we’ll have an empty nest. We all know deep down that it’s our job to make our kids self-sufficient (as heart-breaking as it might be), so here are some tips for helping them to become more independent.
Dogs Are For Life…
One way to get kids to be more responsible is to get them a pet. It doesn’t need to be a dog (which is a lot of work for everyone) but even a small animal that is relatively easy to look after will teach them to care for another living creature. Your child will need to behave in a mature and responsible way and will need to remember and make time for feeding them and caring for them. They will feel proud when they reflect on the new skills they’ve learned, and this will build their self-confidence.
We can’t hold their hands forever and we all know that helicopter parenting (where you’re overprotective and constantly hovering over them) is unhelpful. Find ways to allow them to have more freedom whether that’s getting the school bus or attending playdates and parties without you. Enjoy the fact that you’ll get more time to yourself, and they’ll develop a sense of independence.
Clean Up, Clean Up, Everybody Everywhere!
It’s important that kids learn that you’re not going to constantly pick up after them. Once they’re at a suitable age, give them a list of tasks that you expect them to do every day and put it up where you and they can keep an eye on it. Include jobs such as keeping their room tidy, putting their dirty washing in the washing basket, putting their dirty plates and bowls in the dishwasher and emptying their school bag. Even little tasks will help them become more conscientious and will be a big help to you!
Yes, sometimes they’ll do things wrong, shoes will go on the wrong feet and their top will go on back to front, but there’s no use crying over spilt milk (quite literally if they’re on breakfast duty). Accept that they have to learn from their mistakes and encourage them and praise them. If you criticise, it will affect their self-esteem and they’ll want to give up, which is the opposite of what you want. Remember to allow lots of extra time for them to complete tasks without your help so you may need to set your alarm a little earlier every day!