Encourage Independence and “Save Your Back”

Sometimes we miss the obvious, and we need someone to point it out to us. Whether you are home all day or just in the evenings, assigning tasks to even the youngest child who might be right under your feet can benefit both you and your child. This could be labeled as “intentional parenting.”

We know that we need to equip children early with self-help skills. We already understand the value of allowing them to do small tasks that give them a feeling of self-confidence. Have you thought about these simple ways for your child to help?

1.     Your toddler would love to push the laundry basket down the hall thus saving you from lifting it.

2.     A young toddler or two-year-old would be happy to hand you laundry from the floor or basket to load into the washer thus saving you from bending over.

3.     Make picking up toys a competitive game between siblings or between you and your child. Leave toys that are easiest for him to reach thus saving you from bending and stooping.

4.     Your young toddler can help dust, carry out trash, put things in the car, and genuinely assist you if you inspire her and choose activities that are appropriate for her age.

5.     Older children can learn to make simple dishes for dinner and perhaps even take charge of certain meals. Don’t limit them—you might be surprised.

6.     Family discussions can be very valuable. Inspire children to be responsible by asking them what they think they can do. It’s amazing what they will take on if you let them.

The key is to turn the work into fun. Relax and enjoy each experience. Remember that every time your child is successful in helping you, he gains confidence and learns a life skill. And perhaps along the way, you have given yourself a little break, as well.

Try it…you might find that all of you enjoy this “teamwork.”

As parents, we tend to assume that our child is “too little, too young, or too fragile.” Be aware of tasks that your child CAN do that will give her a sense of pride and also contribute to the overall health of your family.

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