When I saw this quotation on Pinterest, I was intrigued by the question beneath it. Zina Harrington of Give A Child A Lifetime Love of Learning asks, “What are you doing for your child that they could succeed at doing without your help?”
So I began to ask myself, “What am I doing for Naomi that she could succeed at doing without my help?”
As I watched her, I began to notice all the things that Naomi is capable of doing on her own. I can try too hard to keep everything under my control, so it was good for me to think about what things I could put under Naomi’s control.
[Now just a disclaimer, I hope you won't compare your child to mine or feel that I am trying to compare mine to yours. Different kids can accomplish different tasks at different ages, or may show more interest in some tasks more than others.]
So here is a list of tasks that Naomi (28 months old today) can do successfully without (much) help. (I got a lot of ideas from this list of age-appropriate chores on Parenting Squad.)
- Get the (unbreakable) plates, silverware, and pot holders out of the drawer and set them on the table in (mostly) the right places.
- Clear her place setting after dinner, and put her items in the sink.
- Gather the family for dinner. (“Daddy–Join Us!”)
- Pray for dinner and at bedtime (initially repeating after Brad & me, but now a one-sentence prayer on her own).
- Pick up her messes before meals or bedtime.
- Put her socks and (Velcro) shoes on and off. Undress for bath-time and remove her hair things.
- Remember names, greetings, and goodbyes.
- Use please, thank you, and excuse me appropriately.
- Run small errands. (Give a toy to Oliver, choose a book to read, put an item in the trash or dirty clothes basket, collect weeds I’ve pulled and put them in a pile, help feed the dogs, water the flowers, and pick the tomatoes.)
- Help me in the kitchen. (Dumping, sprinkling, tearing…ingredients, pizza toppings, etc).
- Alert me to her bathroom needs. (Before or after the fact…We’ve been potty-training on and off for about the last month).
- Wash her hands and brush her teeth (with some help).
- Climb into her car seat and wait to be buckled.
After thinking about the things she is capable of doing for awhile, I began to raise my expectations of her. Now we clean up her room together every night before bed (instead of me doing it alone) and she cleans up the toys in the kitchen before we eat our meals. I have to remind myself to let her climb in her car seat (rather than lifting her) and undress for her bath. It’s nice to give her table-setting chores around dinner-time while I’m busy with cooking. So I’m learning to let go a little, and allow her to succeed on her own.
Now I will turn the question on you, my readers.
What are you doing for your children that they could succeed at doing without your help?