by Brad Chaffee
I wanted to share a great article that touches on the basics of teaching your child how to be more self reliant.
It comes from the March 2010 issue of Parenting Magazine and does a great job of giving you ways to teach self reliance to your children. Here are the basics:
- Picking up toys
- Straighten the bed
- Pick up clothes
Now there are many ways to get a kid excited just about anything. One of the techniques I use to teach my 3 year old things is making them into a game. I think we have all played the â€œclean up gameâ€ with our kids, have we not?
Making basic chores or tasks fun, will make a BIG difference in how they learn how to do for themselves. It gives them the feeling of achievement which I have found excites my son extremely.
Afterward, we clap and celebrate the achievement as if it accomplishing it just saved the world. This is where the big kid in me gets to let loose!
- Eating with a spoon and fork
Now this is one that we started early with Isaac, mostly because he has always wanted to â€œdo it himselfâ€. This may seem too basic to bother with but I can tell you it has many more benefits aside from just helping them eat on their own. For one it develops motor skills and good hand eye coordination.
If you have trouble getting them to use the fork or spoon, you could try making it a game. I would act as silly as I could to get Isaac interested, and then I would pretend that I was going to eat his food first. You may be surprised at how excited your kid will be to eat his broccoli, if he thinks Dad is going to eat it first.
- Putting on pants
- Putting on their coat
- Tying their shoes
I know a lot of parents that would just assume, for time management purposes, dress their children themselves. As anyone with children knows, it is sometimes a large chore to wait it out. Putting on pants can turn into a 15 minute task.
Our son, and most kids, like to feel like they are being helpful, so it helps to encourage them by telling them how helpful it would be if they did it themselves. Please do not misunderstand this for cutting the cord too soon or not stepping in to help out if they get frustrated. If you do that, the chances that they will remain excited will disappear fast.
The article points out that kids shoes with laces has become obsolete almost, but it is worth helping them learn this task. It can teach them other things that they will find handy as they grow up.
- Brushing teeth
- Brushing hair
- Blowing nose
- Washing hands
- Going potty
Some of these are easy to implement, but others take a little more work. Going potty by themselves can be a process. We use a stool that allows him to reach these things by himself. The important thing about teaching them these things is making sure they do it right.
Be sure to show them what is expected. I read a book once that suggested that when kids get in trouble for doing something, or not doing something, it is often because they do not understand what is expected of them.
If your child does something that is wrong, try being patient, and take the time to explain what you expect. Chances are, it will eventually make sense to them. Donâ€™t make the mistake of assuming they understand your words. Just like adults, kids respond better to visual instruction.
Self reliant kids are the best, because they will likely become doers, instead of takers. When children have relied on someone else to do something for them their whole life, it is a good possibility that as they grow into adulthood, they will expect someone else to provide the things that they should be, or could be doing all by themselves.
Teach them how to contribute to the betterment of societyâ€”teach them self reliance.
Brad Chaffee is the Enemy of Debt, and a regular contributor here at Self Reliance Works. In March he is encouraging people to be more self reliant in their finances by participating in the Manage Your Money challenge. Learn more about Brad by reading his bio.