If you have been wondering how to raise more independent kids, that can actually get age-appropriate work done around the home, freeing you some time to do other things for your personal development beyond domestic, and raise all round responsible and confident kids, this blog post is for you.
One of the many joys of parenting I enjoy is seeing the fruit of my labors mature so fast in my kids.
Kids provide us with such quick return on investment that every mom should be really investing in her kids from a young age.
My kids are 6 and 3.5years at the time of writing this, and for the most part are responsible, especially with chores around the house.
Training them is no easy task, but our patience and hard work pays off.
While there is a LOT to share about raising them to be responsible, I don’t want to go everywhere and nowhere with this post. I would just focus on ONE principle, which is that we don’t just tell them what to do, but set them up to succeed repeatedly at doing it, without having to involve you all the time.
I would share a few practical examples from my own home and let the Holy Spirit show you how this can apply in yours. Good thing is once you grab the principle, you can apply it everywhere.
First, a couple of disclaimers.
Child health and safety is key. Be sure you are taking all safety precautions and not setting them up in a way that may injure them. Your child’s age, lack of clumsiness, obedience, and maturity all play a role here, so be guided.
Also, don’t do this so that you can abandon your child. There are times our kids need us and interruptions are welcome. Other times, not so much.
Also, while we want to let kids be kids, some of us have taken that to almost equate our kids to people without a functioning brain, I can’t forget what a mama friend of mine, who is an early years educator said one time she came to speak to a group of moms I was leading at a time. She asked us how come even 2 and 3 year olds know what buttons to press on a phone to take them to YouTube or Games, even when we have not taken the time to teach them? They just learned it, because they actually have a brain, so let’s not be afraid to encourage them to put that brain to use when it comes to responsibility around the home.
Ok now, let’s go in
When I say set the up for success, I mean, tell them what to do, show them how to do, and then make it easily accessible and available, so that they can do it without you. This is so key because beyond helping them be responsible, it also makes them MORE CONFIDENT as they see the many things they are able to achieve independently.
Like you know, raising GRIC kids is my parenting goal, so anything that helps them to be GODLY, RESPONSIBLE, INDEPENDENT and CONFIDENT is a YES YES YES for me.
Having to keep repeating things, or answering the same questions over and over again can be time and energy draining so if we can train them and set them up to repeat such actions with predictable success outcomes, you and your kids are winning.
For example, if you read this post where several moms share their time saving tips at home, Amaka talked about how the cereal and all they need with it is easily accessible so the kids can serve themselves.
This sounds like a small thing, but can save you an extra 30mins to 2 hours daily. It is in practice that you see it.
If there are meals they can make on their own, let everything be accessible and visible so they can help themselves when it is time.
I also make the sink free from dishes for them so they can do the dishes without the encumbrance of many dishes and all. I make sure the dish washing liquid and sponge is within reach, and when the younger one needs to climb a chair, he knows where to get it.
My kids don’t brush in the toilet, instead we have a mobile tray that contains all they need to brush, including a spit bowl, so after every brushing session, I clean it, reload everything, and put it in a place easily accessible for them to pick and take to daddy to brush when it is time.
This has been such a win for me, because their dad can send them to interrupt me to bring stuff for brushing teeth, even when I am sleeping. Now, with this simple act, even the 3y/o can carry it to daddy
PS: I HATE brushing my kids’ teeth
On Sundays, we set out everything for school in a different room and they know it goes sequentially from Monday to Friday. Every school evening, they don’t need me to help them pick the socks or singlet, they just go there and get the ones for Tuesday and we are happy and good. Nobody interrupted anything else I was doing.
I do same with their cloths and night wears. I separate it and keep the ones for after school or night time, on a certain table, so after bathing, nobody comes to ask me what they will wear, they just go there and pick it.
In the bathroom, I keep tissue, soap, towels, and all easily accessible so nobody calls me when they need anything, except where I have to be the adult and help.
In the kitchen, I print or write out the meal time table for the week, as I change it almost weekly, and paste on the wall where the 6y/o can read it easily. What this means is I don’t get endlessly asked ‘Mummy, what am I taking to school?’ or ‘Mummy, what will I eat this morning?’
It is all there, in black and white, and he tells his brother too.
They also have a daily chore chart, so instead of me saying everything that needs to be done, the older can check it and go about doing it so he can get the rewards that come from STARS and avoid the consequences of CROSSES
(I will do a proper post on Chore chart soon.)
On weekends or days they are home all day, I fill their water bottles up from morning, and keep it on their tables. This was such a time and stress saver for me, as I would get interrupted all the time with ‘Mummy, I want water’
Now, they have their water all day every day. Had to buy pretty 2L water bottles for that.
There are even some things that instead of just giving a ONE OFF answer of Yes, or Later, I tell them a permanent answer, so they don’t have to ask me again.
For example, every time I open the balcony door to spread cloths or rags, they used to ask if they could come with me, and my answer was always in the negative, so one day I told them that permanently, for now, they are not allowed to come to the balcony, except to water their plants, so nobody needs to ask me again.
That eliminated all the ‘Mommy, can I…?’
Ditto some things when we go out shopping. The permanent answer is in the negative.
This also goes for permanent Yes situations too.
Like I said, these things seem atomic but they make a huge difference.
Avoidable interruptions and distractions do more damage to your hours than you think, so I am constantly thinking of ways to get my kids to be responsible and independent in those hours where I don’t have to be with them.
I pray this opens your eyes to ways you can apply to your home and kids (based on your season, their age, your home, and all), so they can be set up for repeated success, that excludes you every time, so you can have time for other things too.
Not that you are neglecting them, but we all know that we cannot let our kids be with us, talking non-stop.
Are there other ways in your own home you set those precious littles up for success?
Please share in the comments.
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With so much LOVE
God’s Domestic Queen