5 things you should stop doing for your kids IMMEDIATELY

Let me preface with my perspective. I am writing this as a mother of three children (ages 2, 4 and 7). I am also writing this as a teacher. I come to you with experience as a preschool teacher, as well as a language inclusion teacher who has worked in both kindergarten and third grade. Everything I write is applicable to ALL of these ages, and beyond. Don’t get defensive, hear me out. And when you’re ready, repeat the following sentences with me:

#1: I will NOT carry my child’s backpack. Never. It is not my backpack. It is not my job.

What if I told you I’ve watched parents of 4th grade students with a Star Wars backpack slung over their shoulders. 4th grade. Are you honestly telling me you don’t think a 9 year old can carry their own backpack? They can. And they should. And they MUST. YES, your tiny human is small now. But he won’t be forever and habits form quickly. Empower your child to carry their own backpack… And give them lots of praise and excitement to let them know you’re proud. My two-year old has watched her older siblings carry their “pack packs”themselves and she too wants in on that feeling of accomplishment. I may take the bulk out for her (since the backpack itself is larger than her little body), but I let her wear her own backpack so she knows she CAN.

#2: My child is responsible for putting their coat/ backpack/ shoes in the designated place to keep our entryway clean.

Maybe you have a mud room, maybe you have lockers, maybe you have hooks, maybe you have a front door that immediately spills into your living room. Whatever your entryway space, whatever your system, your kids can help. Don’t get caught in the habit of letting them “drop it like it’s hot” upon entering the door only to add this to your ever growing to do list. Just as you put your shoes and coat in a spot, your kids can follow your lead.

#3: When dinner is done, I will allow my child to help be a part of cleaning up after the meal.

3. Removing their plates, cups, silverware is a little act for them, but a big help to you. Just this morning, my one-year old happily carried her sippy cup out to the kitchen after breakfast, smiling along the way. She WANTED to be a “big helper” (her words), and a “big girl” (also her words), so I would be a fool not to embrace it. YES, there may be spills. Plan accordingly and start small. They CAN do this and SO CAN YOU.

#4: I am not the only one that can snap, zip and buckle. Once I teach my kids, they can too!!

Do you know how many kindergarteners walk out of their classroom bathroom with their pants down because they are expecting the “zipper fairy” to complete their job for them? An embarrassing amount. Yes, hands are small. Yes, it takes practice. Yes, some kids fine motor skills aren’t quite there. Please work with your child to prevent all this “But, but, but…..” attitude. If your kiddo hasn’t reached their full potential in the area of fine motor skills by 5, DON’T STRESS. Keep working with them when you’re around them, and have them wear easy pants that they can function independently and feel successful at school/ church/ playdates. Most importantly, instill in them that they CAN do it!!

#5: I will not continue blowing my child’s nose. Those aren’t my boogers. These boogers belong to someone else. I will help them learn to get their own boogers out of their nose, so their boogers aren’t MY responsibility when they are 10.

Yes, you’re a mom. Yes, your #1 job as a mom is your child’s safety and well being. Yes, you will need to help them in this area for a few years. As soon as they can possibly grasp the concept however, have them start working on the nose blowing process independently. It might be messy and boogs may fly in a direction you don’t intend, {typically in their mouths}, but the sooner they learn, the better off they (and YOU) will be.

You got this mama! No matter their age, you can always help them spread those wings.

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