My end goal for parenting is to have happy, independent, helpful, productive adults. And I’m pretty sure the way to achieve that is by having happy, independent, helpful, productive children.
I don’t mean full blown adult versions of these attributes. I mean the appropriate child-age versions of them. So, this means that I begin to look for opportunities to expose my children to opportunities to learn these types of attributes. Read the rest of this entry →
It’s important for children to understand their boundaries. And in this case, the boundaries I’m referring to are the literal kind. Physical Boundaries.
There are times when you need to keep your child close to you for safety, or times you need them to stop moving toward something dangerous like the top of the stairs or a hot barbeque.
The word “stop” is a good one to be sure to teach your child at a very young age I taught my oldest boy the word “stop” shortly after he began to walk, around10-months old. Here’s how I took some time to teach this word.
First I held his hand and walked a few steps and then I said “stop!” and we stopped.
I repeated this several times until he seemed to be stopping on his own even though I was holding his hand.
The next step was to walk and let go of his hand having him walk beside me and say “stop,” stopping myself very quickly. He had no trouble stopping with me, and we continued the little game of “stop” until he would stop automatically when told.
Then we both walked around the yard going in our own different directions and I would say “stop” and we would both stop in our own places. ( It was a fun game, kids like games.)
The next step was for me to stand in place and allow him to roam alone, I would say “stop” for him to stop clapping my hands and cheering every time he did it just right all by himself.
As he continued to roam around I would have him stop periodically.
I did this on a day when I also wanted to get some yard work done. Our yard is near a busy street and I didn’t want him to get close to the road. So, I decided that he would be allowed on the grass (separated from the street by a flower garden) and on the walkway (which was separated from the road by the driveway.) I began weeding some of my plants and continued to play the game, giving generous applause for the stopping. It worked a treat, and I was sure to let him know “What a good boy! Look at you!! You can stop! Good boy!”
And since kids love to show off, I added reinforcement to it by telling his Dad…”look at this! He can “stop!” He was one proud little toddler. And he had learned a valuable lesson. Two actually: a safety lesson; and the lesson that people will be pleased with you when you do as you are told.
How often each day do you make eye contact with your loved ones?
Take notice and you may be surprised that it’s less than you think.
When you’re busy preparing a meal and your child is telling you a story, take a moment to stop cutting the onions and look them in the eye and smile while they talk to you.
That moment of eye contact is a connection. They know you are listening. Your minds have connected. They matter. Your children are especially deserving of your eye contact. Don’t be stingy with it.
In the 21st century, where some days screens are in front of our faces more often than human beings, it’s important to validate the experiences we share. All it takes is just a little eye contact.
One thing that I have impressed upon my kids since they were quite little, and also upon my students, is the importance of eye contact when thanking someone. If you do not make eye contact when saying thank you, it dilutes the value of the compliment. If you look someone in the eye when you thank them, they know that you mean it.
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You would be surprised how much help kids can be. Here are some of the chores my 2 boys help with. They are currently 8 and 12.
Either boy can do these:
mirror/window washing (high traffic areas like entryways and kitchen)
transferring garbage from small bins to bags
bathroom cleanup and details (the younger one does picking up. mirrors and floors, the older one does the toilet, tub and sink.)
running laundry – they sort together, tag team the transfers, and work together to hang and fold. (I do my own laundry, so there’s no worry of damage to a special item.)
putting out/pulling in the trash cans or compost bins. (One child can do it alone, but they manage better together for some reason.)
That’s a lot of help around the house! If you’ve been reading my blog, you know that I like “easy” Even if they only do 1 thing each day it keeps the house reasonably neat and clean. And of course I fill in the gaps and do a super good job when it’s my turn! This really only leaves me fully responsible for big jobs like kitchen, (fridge, oven,) walls, spring cleaning, and filter cleaning and replacement.
The younger you allow your children to help, the more competent they will be as they get older. And yes, I did say allow; not make. Young children want to be helping all the time.
It’s not efficient for you to let them when they first want to do it. But if you take the time to introduce them to the work and gradually give them more stringent expectations, they will become expert household engineers before your very eyes.