Doing less for my kids now will pay off in the future
Most parents find themselves wondering if they are doing enough for their children, but how many question if they are doing too much? After all, our job as parents is to prepare our kids for the future, but are we actually teaching them how to be independent or just becoming their personal slaves?
My husband and I chose to have our kids extremely close together. In the beginning my kid’s ability to be independent was a necessity, but as they grew I realize just how much this skill set has actually benefited my kids. After all, the job of a parent isn’t to do for our children, but rather teach them to do for themselves. Take a look at five ways being a ‘lazy parent’ has helped me raise independent kids.
Dress up-As soon as my kids were able to toddle I encouraged them to dress themselves and rewarded them for doing so. I understand how frustrating it is to watch your little one struggle to put on a single shoe for five minutes when all you want to do is get out the door, but it will pay off later.
As my children got older, I gave them the freedom to choose their clothing in exchange for them dressing themselves. They have come up with some questionable outfits, but as long as it is in season and it fits properly, it’s good to go.
Pack up-One of the biggest complaints among parents of school-aged kids is the complete torture of packing lunches. Not only do you have to compete with the Pinterest worthy animal-shaped gluten free lunches posted in the mom groups, but you also have to figure a way to pack a healthy, litter-free, allergen-free lunch your child will actually eat.
You are set up to fail in this scenario.
As soon as my kids were able to eat solids, they started helping me in the kitchen. As soon as my oldest started school, she started making her lunch. She was allowed to choose what went into her lunch as long as there was one veggie or fruit, one treat and a sandwich. Of course I still passively participated in this process, but by making her lunch herself she was far more likely to eat it. #momwin
Clean up-As a busy mother of three, I see cleaning as less of a chore and more of a necessity. Battling the mess was a daily struggle. I remember I was at a parenting group and we had a guest speaker who spoke about the importance of rest for parents. She encouraged us to clean during the day and make sure to get downtime once we put the kids to bed. As a result from a young age my girls not only watched me clean, they got in on the act. In fact, they would fight over the chance to take a bottle of water and vinegar and wash the cupboards or sweep the floor. As the years progressed, cleaning just became part of our daily routine. Their rooms are expected to stay tidy and they put their own clothes in the laundry room when dirty and in the proper drawers when clean. I know many teenagers who still haven’t mastered this skill.
Make up-The only thing crazier than having three kids under three in our house is the knowledge that one day we will have three teenage daughters living under our roof.
The only way to deal with the tantrums, crying and arguments that are bound to happen in the future, is to take a hands-off approach in the present. While my kids love to fight, (I have seen some epic blow-outs) unless there are extreme circumstances, I am not getting involved. My kids are learning conflict resolution, tolerance and not to be a tattle tale because I frankly don’t want to spend my day figuring out who took whose toy first.
Sleep up-One of the biggest wins as a parent was finding a punishment that works for my kids and for myself. When my kids misbehave my go-to punishment is almost always the same: early bedtime. This is actually genius because I know that when my kid starts acting out they need extra sleep but they hate the idea of going to bed. This is one punishment that I never feel guilty throwing out and I love following through on. The kid who needs extra sleep gets it and the other kids get more attention for behaving well.
While I may be lazy in my parenting method, I only have my kid’s best interests at heart. If they can grow up to know how to care for themselves, they may even consider moving out one day rather than living in our basement well into their 30’s.
Well, a parent can dream.