As I sit here writing this, Olivia has served up brunch for her and Violet, and Violet’s emptying the dishwasher, using a chair to climb up on the counter and put the dishes away. Granted, she’s been swayed with the $1 she will earn from emptying the dishwasher as one of the ‘extra’ chores, above and beyond her allowance, but she’s still doing something that I don’t have to fit in. One of the things I had forgotten about infants, is just how many hours of the day that breastfeeding encompasses.
I’m so thankful that we’ve taught Olivia to use the toaster, to use the microwave and prepare simple things, like the brunch she’s created of leftover Pasta Pantry and bagels with butter, served with grape juice in fancy glasses, with a side of mandarin oranges.
Some of the parents we know, do everything for their children of the same age. Cutting up their dinner, pouring them a glass of juice from a pitcher in the refrigerator, laying out their clothing and getting things like socks, and underwear from drawers, opening containers of yogurt and preparing their backpack for school for the next morning. This list sounds exhausting, and it’s endless.
When it comes to parenting, Independence is one of our big ‘themes’. I think that every parent has these themes in parenting, the themes that they’re passionate about teaching their children, the values they wish the kids to encompass. In our house, these themes vary through the seasons of raising kids, but include: empathy, independence, confidence, genuine kindness, grit and passion.
Teaching independence from a young age is as simple as providing the kids with simple tasks, with simple responsibilities that they are expected to do, on their own. Something as simple as being responsible for your allowance when you’re four years old, independently unloading the dishwasher and learning the ability to play on your own. When you’re seven, this picture looks like learning to use the toaster to make a bagel when you’re up earlier than everyone in the house, being responsible for packing your backpack, and taking care of the allowance money in your purse, without losing it.
It starts with something as simple as the toaster. Teach your children to use the toaster, and you’ll get the bonus of being able to sleep in a bit, and the bonus of getting brunch in bed.
What are some of your themes in parenting?