My Favourite Parenting Phrase #2: "How Can I Help?
Step Away From the Lunch Box
I'm a recovering DIAY-er (and I don't mean crafts). I've been a lifelong Do It All Yourself-er. I plan and clean and cook and wash and fold all the while hoping someone will notice and lend a hand. (Sometimes I think having a sister-wife would actually be really helpful...) So when it comes to things my kids can do for themselves I try really, really hard to lay off, step back and ask if they need help or how I can help. This is about supporting, not rescuing my kids and it has paid off big time!
Failure is The Key to Success
Is there anything more beautiful than seeing your children beam with pride at their own skills? When I let my kids practice they gain confidence around things I'd otherwise still be doing for them like tying their own shoes even if it makes them a minute late, packing their own lunches even if it means they forget something, making their own after school snacks even if it means they waste some apple and spill the raisins, or lying with them until they're asleep even if it means I sometimes check back on them a couple times.
When we always do simple things for our children it inadvertently teaches them that those simple things must be too much for them to handle. It's really about exposure, not making them do everything. I still love doing little things for my kids now and then, it's just that most of the time they do it themselves so they believe in their ability to do it themselves.
This Kid's Got Skills
The other day my newly 8 year old made our family an appetizer (or "apple-tizer" as he called it) of his own volition and devising - a crudité platter and homemade dip - all by himself. Boom! That's success in my books.