Raising Independent children(10 Posts)
I've a 3yr old DS, 2 yr old DD and 10mth old DD. We have a very busy house. I find I have to do everything for them. I'm constantly up and down and up and down and stopping what I'm doing for a million things like I want a drink, put my sock on, get me an apple, find my baby's ill, come with me to the toilet etc. I knew w it's all normal but I feel so exhausted at the relentlessness of it. I remember a poster ages ago saying she set up a drinks station where they could always help themselves and it's made me think....what can I do to help the kids do things themselves. I found myself yesterday getting mad that DS wanted to being a chair to the kitchen sink to wash his hands because I knew it would be water everywhere and he'd mess with the washing up liquid and decide to take a bottle brush and hide it in the sofa or something so I had to stop what I was doing to supervise and avoid extra work after. But I think that's a bad approach as it makes them so so dependent on me. Does anyone have any tips? I'm thinking I need to set up stations around the house for hand washing, teeth brushing, drinks, maybe snacks in a bowl I can let them decide at certain times of the day, maybe clothes out to dress themselves and actually not give in and do it for them, make and do stuff in a reachable place.
Training them to be independent takes time, patience and probably a lot of extra mess initially but does anyone have any hints of things they do to help independence in the house, even for older kids. Would like be some ideas. I think they are w capable of a lot more than I let them do.
I wouldn't advise a drinks station just yet!
I think you have to start small.
Getting them to put their dirty clothes in the wash basket. Putting their empty cups/plates near the sink. Getting their own fruit/yogurts/snacks. Washing hands upstairs where they can reach on their own. Put their shoes/toys/ coats away.
Also with my 3 I had to say sometimes that I'm sitting down and having a cup of tea. I'm having five minutes peace. Get them a drink/snack and sit them in front of a Disney film/CBeebies. Then I'd have a quick sandwich and a cup of tea in the room next door. Just to give myself a small break.
It does get easier.
Oh and I should point out I'm still in bed and my eldest is making me toast and tea . The independence does come with time. (He's 10 now)
The easisist way is to give them the time to do things for themselves
A step was the most useful thing for mine. I've never heard of a drinks station, but with the step they can reach the tap, and hold their cup under it! Getting their own outfits is another useful skill, but I'm very relaxed about mismatched clothing, and mine take guidance about keeping warm very well. Although I often dress the youngest, at an age well past when I wouldn't dress the eldest, as I have less other stuff to do. They do grow up and its gets less relentless. Unless you have more, of course!
Three child under four must be tough. Independence will come. You will be amazed with what your three year old will achieve in 12 months time.
The 3 year old can probably do quite a lot - I remember vividly my (then) 3 year old making "lunch" for herself and me when her little brother had a vomitting bug - she made jam sandwiches on pre sliced bread... bit cack handed but still lovely, and it made me cry at the time (in a good way)
TBH the key is to be slightly lazy and not too house proud - like a lot of things with young children its less stressful if you aren't too uptight about mess existing temporarily
or not so temporarily - and get the kids to help tidy / wipe up!
We have a very stable, solid wooden step stool with two steps up to the kitchen sink - my 5 yo still uses it but it has been used by all the kids since the age of about 18 months under supervision and with little to no supervision by 3 (and by me to put things we rarely use up on the top of kitchen cupboards, it also doubles as an actual stool sometimes) I would recommend that.
I know of nurseries that do drink stations and I did when I was a child minder, but I've never done it dor my own kids - our preschool does it though and it works well. They also get their own plate and cup out of a cupboard at snack time and have to wash it up afterwards (special little low sinks though).
What really helped me when the kids were small was having a bottom cupboard as a "children's cupboard" containing plastic cups, beakers, plates and cutlery which they helped themselves to. They were then able to use the step stool to get a drink of water, and the fruit bowl was always within reach, as was the kitchen roll - you spill something, you try to clean it up then ask for help. Nobody's cross as long as you help clean up and let a grown up know so they can check its all gone.
It absolutely is more trouble letting them do things for themselves than doing it yourself at first, but it really pays off.
Absolutely let the older 2 dress themselves if you are not under pressure to be out of the house promptly - another thing that really helped me was setting up their cupboards with things in little baskets and only special occassion stuff on hangers, so they didn't have to pull things down. I always let them choose their own clothes - much more motivating. We've always had a nobody downstairs til they are dressed rule, which also motivates the getting dressed and stops it dragging out over the day (though we have relaxed that at weekends now they are older and can just be sent up to get dressed alone).
Good luck - its worth it. You have to unclench about mess and time though
There is nearly no way out of being busy and called on at the moment as they are all so small. But the good news is as they are nearly all the same age they can all become independent together so things will get easier in one jump. The bad news is lm afraid is that at 16 15 and. 14 they could still be throwing stuff around in their rooms etc. But they will get their own snacks.. Regularly!!
Say no to more. 3 year old and 2 year old here. No snacks here outside of snack time. Don't see the point of drinks stations at home - they have water or milk with meals and snacks and it's extremely rare that they ask for drinks outside of those times.
Sometimes it can be quicker to do things for then, for example on work days if DD is faffing about (perfectly capable of getting herself dressed) then I dress her, otherwise not the end of the world if she's half dressed at half past nine. This also relies on me being relaxed about her fashion choices....
Both children bring at least one thing from the table to the dishwasher; started off bribing them with atickers, now it's just what they do. Three year old can make the coffee machine go too!
Not being instantly available for daily minutiae helps, although I do drop things instantly when someone demands help at the toilet/sink for example.
And yes, unclench about the mess. We had more than one bowl of Weetabix on the floor when they were learning to move between kitchen and table, but you just have to calmly clear it up, jolly them along, make some more and make them try again.
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