We do a lot for our boys. When I say that, I mean we literally do a lot of things FOR them. Things that they should probably be doing themselves since they’re 7 and 9 years old. Let me be clear, it’s not that they CAN’T do any of these things for themselves, or that I ENJOY doing these things for them, it’s just…you get into a habit, you know? Over the years, you just get used to doing certain things yourself simply because you’ve always done it that way and well, let’s be honest, it’s usually easier.
All that being said, I told my husband that I feel we do too much for our boys. They aren’t babies or toddlers anymore, so we need to give them more responsibility and have them do simple tasks for themselves. So, if you have kids around the same age, or even younger, (Hey, start early!) and think it’s about time they have a little more responsibility, here are a few age-appropriate things we’ve recently started having our two boys do for themselves;
Make Breakfast – At their age, they should be able to get themselves a simple bowl of cereal, or make their own toast, right? Well, turns out! They CAN! We told our boys they need to start making their own breakfast, or at least help us make it. This past weekend, our youngest went into the kitchen and made himself a bowl of cereal all by himself. Not only did I NOT have to move from the couch with my hot mug of tea and warm blanket, but he was proud of himself that he did it without any help.
Put Away Clothes – I do the majority of the laundry and I fold it. But they can manage to put their own clothes away in their drawers. Sure, they might not do it as neatly as I would, and some things may end up in different drawers, but I can overlook that.
Recycling – My husband and I were always the ones sorting the recycling and taking the bins out on pick up day. No more! The boys are now in charge of recycling and they’ve learned what items go in which bin. They sort the recycling and before they get on the bus for school on pick-up day, they take the bins to the end of the driveway. They bring the bins back in when they get off the bus after school too! (Bonus!)
School Lunches – In all honesty, I’m still working on this one. I haven’t left it completely up to them just yet. I let them pick items they want in their lunch and sometimes they help by grabbing things for me from the fridge or the pantry, but normally around the time of the morning I’m putting lunches together, they’re brushing their teeth and getting dressed for school. It’s a work in progress, but I want them to be more hands-on with the lunch making in the near future.
Now, the added benefit of giving your children more responsibility and having them do things for themselves is…they generally become more helpful. They start to actually WANT to do things to help out around the house. So not only are you teaching them basic life skills, but you’re also raising thoughtful and helpful children. Win-win, right?
What types of things have you started having your children do for themselves? I’d love to hear them!
(And add them to my list!)