This is a re-post, but I found it as I was cleaning out old drafts. My son is now 8, but these ideas STILL apply ( not the butt wiping thank the lord thats over, but most of them) and it was a much needed reminder!
Do you have one thing, one event, one person that you know has changed the course of your life? Im sure some of us have more than one. I want to talk about my second grade teacher. Her name was Mrs. Smith.
Mrs. Smith made me feel uncomfortable. She was direct, didn’t have a lot of tolerance for whining, and made me do everything on my own ( GASP!!!). At the early age of 8, I hated going to school because I felt nervous around her. I cried EVERY.SINGLE.DAY- I thought it was because of her……
One day, Mrs.Smith mentioned to my mom, whom stayed home with my sister and I until we went to school, that I may need to try something on my own, like dance class. So my mom did just that, she enrolled me a dance class by myself, and the rest was history. I gained confidence, I began seeing that I loved to dance, and that I was good at it. I took dance class, and performed until I was in college. Mrs. Smith helped me become who I am today. I will forever be grateful to her. WHY? Because she taught me how to trust myself.
I realized the other day, as my almost 7 year old, called me out once again, because I was “Babying” him. That I am not allowing him to learn how to trust himself (Insert AHA moment here) I get in there fast, before he can possibly struggle for one moment. I lend my help every chance I get. I realize that this , in a twisted, I just love him so much, way, is really for me, not him. I am not allowing him, to have a trusting relationship with himself.
I dont want to see him struggle., I dont want things to feel hard for him. Somewhere along the way, he started to grow up, and I haven’t. until recently have been stuck at about a “mom of a four year old” level.
For those of you feeling a little uncomfortable because you have been here to, welcome to the ” I am doing this Just because he needs my help, but truthfully he needs to trust himself ” club.
Its OK though y’all, we can get through this together. We know from the bottom of our hearts, that we pray for our babies to grow, and to become independent. we wouldn’t REALLY want them to ALWAYS need us for every little thing. In fact, now that I have become aware, and we have began making some changes, I realize JUST how much I was doing for him, that he can TOTALLY do on his own!!! Here are a few!
Things to allow our school age children to try on their own:
1. Wipe their own butt- I know, I know, your shaking your head and saying, Lord have Mercy if I dont get in their and clean it up. I hear you, but we MUST set Butt wiping boundaries. Tap into our well of patience and fight the urge to just get it done more quickly for the love of toilet paper! Here is how we handle it now at our house. He wipes as much as he can, we do a quick check and tell him if he needs to do a little more. Its not pretty, or fun, but he is getting better and better!
2. Get their own snack- Set up a snack basket in your fridge or pantry, with healthy snacks that your child can reach. When he or she asks for a snack, let them know they can grab from the basket.
3. Reach things that are above their head– Allow them to get a chair and reach it. The other week, Liam asked if he could get a towel out of the top of our linen closet, I said if you can wait a minute Ill grab it for you. He said “Mom I can just pull a chair over and get it”. Ever since that instance, when he says something is too high, I ask him if he could reach it if he stood on a chair. More times than not, he says yes.
4.Pour milk on cereal, get own glass of water, spread their own peanut butter– In general, food related stuff that we, as parents are SO use to doing for them, it doesnt even cross our minds that A. They would want to do it themselves, or B. That they are capable. *note: be ready for meal time to be a little more messy, guess what..your kiddos can help clean up!
5. Ask for help. – You know what I mean right? We jump in and say ” Do you need help”? before letting them ask for help, or try it on their own. They know when to ask for help, and when to do it on their own, but if we keep jumping in and ” saving” them when they dont actually need it, we aren’t allowing them to trust themselves.
Please know that this is just an “in general” list. All kids develop different and have different needs. Your child may be a champion butt wiper. If so, thats amazing, but we want to hear from you! What are somethings you loosened the reigns on, so your child could begin trusting themselves?