Tuesday May 14, 2019
It’s the dream of all of us Moms that we’ll raise our children to be healthy, happy, and independent, so we can watch them head off to be responsible adults. But just like every mom wants to think that her child is smart and good-looking (aren’t they all?) we also tend to over-exaggerate just how independent they are.
Here’s a quick run-down of some major areas to determine how independent your kids really are:
Basic Life Skills
First off, let’s talk about basic life skills. These should start as soon as possible. You don’t want to go around for 18 years doing everything and then suddenly throw them in the deep end of the pool when they head off to college. These types of skills start at an early age with basic hygiene tasks such as bathing themselves and brushing their teeth.
They should also be given the job of going to bed on their own without you having to tuck them in every night. As they get a little older, they should be able to fix basic meals for themselves, such as sandwiches and cereal. This, by the time they are pre-teens or teens, will progress to where they can cook for themselves.
Finally, they should be able to go from cleaning their rooms independently to doing chores around the house without having to be prompted a million times.
Another area that shows independence is with their schooling. As a young child, you should have them take responsibility for writing down their assignments and check these off each night. Gradually, you should be able to wean them from this so that they can keep up with their own work, including getting their books and materials ready each night for school.
Perhaps the biggest area of independence is with money. It’s important they understand that money doesn’t grow on trees, otherwise, you're setting yourself up to be a life-long ATM for them. Teach them that money has to be earned and isn’t merely given each week regardless of how much they have done. Once you teach them that, you need to let them earn some money and let them choose how to spend it. The best skill you can provide your child is the ability to budget and monitor their spending.
If you really want your child to leave the nest one day and fly with the eagles, then you are going to have to start early and work with them consistently. Creating situations that provide choices and bolster decision-making skills will eventually give them the opportunity to become responsible and independent.