The irony of parenthood is that your end goal is to work yourself out of a job. You want to raise a self-sufficient child who can succeeds in their chosen field and be a good and useful citizen. But sooner than either of you want to admit, they’ll be on their own. Make it easy for them by keeping that end goal in mind.
Age-appropriate skills are important for the harmonious psychological and physical development of your kids. Raising a self-sufficient child involves researching techniques that apply to the kid’s age and ability. It’s important to take into consideration the likes and dislikes of your children, too. But also try to steer them into the direction of fulfilling tasks they might not be particularly keen on.
A self-sufficient child should know how to handle responsibilities and how to carry out small tasks. This might not seem so significant at first. Delegating your 4-year-old to set the table for dinner sounds trivial, however, the lesson behind this task is priceless. Children learn at an early age that they are expected to bring their contribution to everything. This will help them become adults.
Where do you begin when raising a self-sufficient child? We’ve compiled a list of suggestions for how you can start handing out responsibilities to your kids.
1. A Chore a Day Keeps the Whims Away
Most children dread chores because they perceive them as something they have to do against their will. They fail to understand their roles and do not shy away from postponing or even refusing to do them altogether.
From a parent’s perspective, chores are the best way to start teaching kids about responsibilities while also getting things done around the house. However, there are a few tips and tricks to keep in mind before jotting down a list of chores for your kid. The first thing you should take into consideration is their age. Start with simple, straightforward tasks for children aged 2 to 3, like picking up toys. Then, and move up to more complex jobs for kids that are over 10, such as setting the table.
There are also ways to encourage your kid to fulfill the task quickly and efficiently. You can use a kitchen timer to challenge them and see how fast they can finish. Regardless of the outcome, refrain from being too critical of the kids’ work. Raising a self-sufficient child doesn’t mean a constant bicker, but rather guidance and patience. Make suggestions through examples and try not to be too harsh.
2. A Step Back
It can be very tempting for parents to intervene and carry out the chores of the child faster. However, this will only harm the child’s perspective and make them believe they can avoid chores by slacking. It’s important for children to do things on their own.
This way, they get to experience first-hand what it truly means to carry out a chore. They get the chance to understand that cleaning or helping out with dinner is not easy. They get the opportunity to try their best, figure things out on their own, and get creative.
Chores are the pillars of raising a self-sufficient child. Parents could be challenged as well. Assigning your kid the task of dressing oneself sounds reasonable until they head out of their bedroom wearing their ski gear in August.
3. Mistakes Are Welcome
It’s only natural for parents to try to shield their kids from making mistakes. However, these are more beneficial than you might think. Not only do children learn what they did wrong, they can also get acquainted with the consequences and rewards.
If you choose to set up an allowance for efficiently fulfilling chores, it will be in your kid’s best interest to roll up their sleeves and get the work done. If the chores are not fulfilled, parents shouldn’t shy away from holding back the allowance.
This teaches the kids about responsibility and gives them a glimpse into making mistakes. The same principles will apply in other environments like school or work. Since parents serve as a model for their kids, you should try to remain consistent in your decisions in order to get the point across.
4. A Little Help Never Hurt Anyone
Raising a self-sufficient child can begin when the child is 2 or 3. The only condition parents have to abide by is to assign achievable chores for each age group. Very young kids might need some help in preparing breakfast, for example. In this case, parents can interfere with some behind-the-scenes help.
You can help with breakfast preparation by laying out the ingredients where the kids can easily reach them. Take down the cereal if it is up high on a shelf. Measure out enough milk in a jug or a glass, which will make it easier for the kid to pour over cereal.
This simple, two-step chore your kids can perform in the morning has the ability to make them feel more responsible. Making oneself breakfast will also make the child feel proud and accomplished. Moreover, helping out with dinner and tackling complicated recipes is only a step away.
5. Embrace Problem-Solving
Adults see solutions for problems easier than kids. Parents are able to identify the best ways to go about an issue within seconds. On the other hand, kids don’t have such an easy time figuring things out. Whether they are looking at the issue from the wrong angle, or they have never come across such difficult task, they might be struggling with finding the perfect solution.
When you kid comes asking for help, wait a second before blurting out the answer that seems obvious to you. Instead, take advantage of this situation to teach your kid a few problem-solving techniques. The best method is to steer them in the right direction so they can reach a conclusion on their own. Offer clues and support instead of the outright answer.
This problem-solving mechanism doesn’t only apply in home chores or to situations in which your kid forgot where they put their coat. Developing the ability to overcome issues on their own will also prove useful in school tests, moving out, getting a new job, or visiting a foreign country on their own.
Raising a self-sufficient child is a combination of setting the right example and steering the kid in the direct direction. Only by teaching kids age-appropriate life skills can parents make sure their kids are well equipped for succeeding in life.