In order to have a sense of self-worth, children need to know that they can indeed do things for themselves. Don’t stifle their drive.
I grew up with a lovely, caring mother and father. My mother loved to serve and I am sure she had the gift of help. She did everything for my sister and me. We had a few chores but not many. Mom made us lunches for school (even through my university years); she made my bed, tidied my room, made all the meals and did the dishes. Occasionally we would help by clearing the table.
Really when I think about it, I had a full-time servant who loved me.
However, when I left home and got out in the real world I suddenly had to learn to do it all. With the help of a great roommate and then a marriage partner I did learn to do things by myself. I would have felt more confident if I had acquired the skills before I left home.
When we had our children you would think I would see the benefits of having them help around the house – but no – I followed my mom’s pattern and did most of the household jobs by myself. That is until I went back to work. Yes, then everyone’s life changed, including my husband’s. Everyone had to pitch in – complaining or not.
Our youngest was 5 when I returned to work and she adjusted the best. She made her own lunches quite happily, while the older two grumbled.
My point is this – kids learn from routines and expectations. You can develop life-long habits if you start young enough – brushing teeth a couple of times a day, washing hands before eating, getting dressed and ready for school on their own, helping at meal times, keeping their rooms tidy, making their beds. Expect your children to help and it will become a natural habit that they will appreciate later in life. Even toddlers can put toys away, help make basic meals, help bake, get dressed by themselves, help dust and wipe the furniture, etc.
If you expect children to help they will. Start the routines early in life and they will continue with them throughout their lifetime.
Don’t do for your child what he/she is capable of doing for herself/himself.
Scripture tells us that we need to ground our children in the Word. That is the meaning of the following passage. But I think it can be taken as teaching any good activity and how it will help a child grow.
Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it (Proverbs 22:6, NIV).
Meet Janis Cox
Janis Cox is a faithful follower of Jesus. She is a wife, mother, grandmother, a sister and friend. Married to a wonderful husband, they have three grown children who are married; they have seven grandchildren.
She is a writer, watercolour artist and person who always is involved in doing something. She has her fingers in many pies – but all of them are delicious. A friend once told her that she saw a vision of her – with a whole bunch of coloured balloons and she tried to capture each one of them.
As a former public school teacher she loved to write poems for her kids. With this background she has now published her first illustrated children’s book, Tadeo Turtle.