Kids are capable of so much more than we think.
Are you holding them back and robbing chances to build self esteem?
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A 2 yr old that can climb on the potty, use the potty, flush the potty, wipe the mess off the toilet (if necessary, which it often is😉) put his clothes back on, wash his hands, and go about his other business is impressive. I’d say that little guy is capable of a whole lot. He likely makes his parents pretty proud. go here for potty training tools
Since you know I am talking about my own baby, I’ll give you a minute to stop rolling your eyes at my patting myself on the back. Then, let me say, I have no special skills, secrets or smarts that enable him to do that. The fact that he can do that doesn’t make me great, it makes him great.
He has the ability within himself to do that. My only role in his ability is requiring him to use it. I show him what to do, spend some intentional time training, and then set a standard.
Due to my own crippling insecurity, I read a lot about self esteem in children. The most glaringly-in-your-face truth I received over and over again was their need to feel proud of their own accomplishments.
Where does self esteem come from?
The more kids can do on their own, the more they have to feel proud of themselves for.
As parents we confuse a child’s lack of desire with lack of ability.
Things wouldn’t get done if we all waited until we wanted to do them.
This is the same with our children. If you know they are capable of doing something, let them do it. Require them to do it. Children who operate in the fullness of their abilities, discover self esteem, and benefit themselves and their families in a variety of ways. Lets look at a few examples.
What are the benefits?
The help is the most obvious benefit for parents with children who aren’t held back!
Chores, for instance, done by children, are chores NOT needing to be done by mom! Kids pile up work loads quickly. Many dads have careers that require a lot of their minds and bodies, leaving mom to tackle the majority of household responsibilities. go here for help getting your kids to do chores
I tell my kids this, “if mommy has to do the work of 5 people, I will have zero time left for fun!, which means no playing with you, no reading bedtime stories, no one-on-one time, and a fussy-tired-snappy-stinky(literally) mommy, and when daddy comes home he’s going to have to pick up the slack, which means even less fun” (they REALLY hate it if dad is too busy to play!)
Babysitters love them.
I want people to want to watch my kids. Kids who can do a lot for themselves make a babysitters job easy. I grew up babysitting ALL. THE. TIME.
I have 5 older siblings, with several years between myself and them. I watched nieces and nephews, had babysitting jobs lined up for me by my mom, nannied part-time for employers before I had children of my own, kept track of kids at church, etc. Without a doubt there are children you look forward to babysitting and those that you, just, well…
They will be ready and willing to work when the time comes.
Both of my two oldest children are constantly seeking out ways to make money. They are not afraid to put-their-back-into-it. Visiting home construction sites asking to clean up debris, calling grandparents to see if there’s poop-scooping to be done or yard work or anything at all. They just plain work. They know they are capable of a lot and are not afraid to give it a try.
You know the saying, “many hands lighten the load.”
Want more peace in your home?
Families that work together as a team to accomplish all the responsibilities of life are going to have more peace.
Peace in your home is a step closer when the trash isn’t overflowing, the dishes aren’t piled up, the laundry isn’t still on the couch waiting to be folded from 2 days ago and the kids bedroom floors are visible. Mom just can’t do it all. And even if she can, she shouldn’t, she should be equally, if not more, concerned with training her children for life than she is cleaning up after them.
Kids self esteem is established when they know they are needed!
Just what can your kids do?
How can you help them?
Ask yourself this question, “who is the youngest child in our home capable of doing this?” Consider your kids and their physical abilities and assign a chore to the smallest member that can accomplish it. This frees up older kids to do more difficult tasks.
You would be surprised at what the “little’s” in your family are capable of. Four year old’s can learn to unload the dishwasher by first stacking the dishes on the counter, then using a step ladder to put them up in the cupboard. (I have taught 3 children this way) Two year old’s can feed the dog, and carry small trash cans from bathrooms to dump in the bigger kitchen trash, etc…
What does being intentional look like?
Spend some time intentionally training them on tasks.
It won’t help the family much if after they do something, you have to come back after them and do it again.
Which brings me to the “cheat sheets.”
Ask some prompt questions instead of a checklist (more on that another time.) Any chore can be approached this way. A step by step guide or better yet, guided-questions, will help them complete an assignment, all the way, until it becomes a habit. (go here for books to help)
Don’t hold them back. Teach them, require them, turn them loose and let them shine!