Hello, everyone. Told ya I’d be spotty with posting regularly at this time of the school year. I’ve never hoped to make a liar of myself, but it might have been nice to be proven wrong when it comes to being overly busy with paperwork. At least I can say I’m writing something–yes??? 😁
Here is where we left off: Teaching/modeling responsibility (and EXPECTING my children to BE responsible) are probably the most effective foundation-building things parents, caregivers, educators—anyone involved with kids—can do.
I like to think Hubby and I started when the boys were very young, as in, old enough to put away toys, throw a juice box in the trash–you know, the heavy work. 😉
Teaching responsibility doesn’t have to be complicated. Keeping chores and/or tasks age-appropriate, simple and few facilitates success, along with a sense of pride/accomplishment for being independent. It also helps minimize frustration and/or resentment (for kids AND parents).
Here are some of the things I expected my kids to do. Feel free to try the examples or come up with your own:
Make their beds daily. (BTW, I do too, or Hubby does—as always, leading by example is powerful.) I kept the job easy: all they had to do was straighten/fluff their pillows and pull up a comforter. (I’ve never used a flat top sheet. It’s a bit much for kids to handle, and the the bed would never get done the way this mamma likes. I skip it to this day, and the 20-year old still makes his bed. How cool is that? 😎)
They also dressed themselves. Can’t remember who picked out their outfits—knowing my controlling self I’m sure I ‘guided’ them to ensembles I liked 😉. If morning is just too rushed, I offer two suggestions:
(1) Help really little ones on days when it’s not feasible to wait, but expect them to dress at an age-appropriate level of independence on weekends, or whenever things are a bit more relaxed at your house. (Try to be consistent with days in which the onus is on them.) This can also apply to kids who are physically capable to dress themselves, but have special needs that interfere with doing so in a timely manner. BTW, at around 12 months, even babies can “help” with dressing. Wait for them to push an arm through a sleeve or leg into pants. I like to make a game of looking for a hand at the end of a long sleeve when putting a jacket on toddlers and preschoolers—makes the task more fun for both of us!
(2) Let the older ones fend for themselves or deal with the consequences. These don’t have to be dire, mean or horrible; consequences should be a naturally occurring (or logically-related) result of one’s choices. (More on that in my next post.)
Give up the backpack! This is a biggie for me, and I stand by it to this day. Each of my boys carried his backpack from the day he got one. (Yes, even in nursery and preschools. Every now and again one or both would ask me to hold them while they ran a race with other kids walking home. No problem! I did, but handed them back immediately upon completing the race. (There’s that subtext again. What I didn’t say but showed through my actions. Speaks way louder than words, folks.)
Here are some more illustrations of subtext—what say you?
One after-school episode stands clear in my mind pictures: that of a mom—I’m sure a very kind-hearted and compassionate one—leaving the playground after school ended for the day. THREE backpacks hung off her shoulders while she simultaneously balanced a very wide box of cupcakes with both hands. Three girls walked in front of her twirling umbrellas. (I’ll assume they were her daughters.) ‘Nough said.
Another neighbor once said something about her kids not being responsible about the dog. “I told Freddelina to take out the dog, but she didn’t so now I have to…”
Another day, a neighbor stopped to chat. She’d just picked up her then-kindergarten-aged twin boys from school. She was carrying two backpacks.
I bit my tongue and chatted about how big the boys were getting.
Next time: Don’t be afraid to do what you have to do.
Thoughts? Ideas? Opinions? This ain’t about me telling my story, folks; it’s about parents sharing their experiences and problem-solving. Everyone’s input matters! Either you’re in the trenches–or survived them! YOUR experiences can be of benefit to others and questions can be a springboard for the answer(s) you might be seeking.
Please take a moment and share in the comments or on Facebook. I made it to Instagram (joanne.timpano) and am learning my way around there. As always, if the content speaks to you, please pass it along via any of the buttons below, or share on Instagram! (I don’t believe there is a button I can add, but I know it’s a biggie. Thank you!!
Wising you all a wonderful day and rest of the weekend,
©Joanne C Timpano, OTR/L, content and images, unless otherwise specified, 2019.