Thursday, May 9, 2013

Teaching Kids Independence

Many of us think that it's better to get things done faster and; therefore, we often opt to just do a task ourselves to save on time and because our patience may be thin. 

Sound familiar?

We likely have experienced this in the workplace and also in our personal lives.

When it comes to children it is indeed faster to help them do something but if we continue to do things for them, how will they learn?

Certain tasks such as personal hygiene may take a bit longer in the beginning to teach children to do such as brushing teeth properly, washing hands effectively, combing hair, and even taking a shower.

For years my daughter was a "bathtub" kid.  And, she still loves it. I tried to encourage her to consider taking showers but should just refused to try. So, I waited. I certainly wasn't going to force her to do something she wasn't ready to do and take away the fun of bath time that she loved including playing with toys and splashing around.

So, I waited.  And, I introduced the idea again and again. 

One night, on an especially busy evening trying to get everything done in the few short hours after work and school I said to Sarah, "hey, want to take a shower with mommy?"  

She said, "yes."

Let's just say it was an interesting experiencing.  Trying hard to keep the soap out her her eyes was the biggest challenge. And, so was trying not to waste too much water was the other.  

Fast forward a few weeks now and shower time has become a regular task.  The bathtub will always be something fun for Sarah but now I think she has moved on over to this more grown up approach to cleanliness.

Tonight, because I was so tired and suffering still from my allergies, I asked Sarah if she wanted to give it a try on her own and take a shower independently.

She said, "yes."

While I knew it would be a somewhat more exhaustive process explaining everything versus just doing it for her, the reward for both of us was significant. 

Sarah succeeded in taking her first solo shower and listened very well.  Through the clear doors I instructed her on what to do, which she pretty much already knew.  It turns out that she did everything I asked her and the shower was shorter than any we had taken previously.

It was a great accomplishment all around.  I was so proud of Sarah for trying something new, and for me having the patience to step back and let her function independently with supervision.

So, while certain tasks with our kids may take less time if we do it for them the reward is much more satisfying when we watch them develop, grow and evolve.

Proud parenting moment.

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