In the short term, I’m sure it would be easier just to keep doing things for them, but if they are going to be independent adults, we need to start now.
It occurred to me recently that I have been a bit negligent as a parent of late. Not in a forgetting to feed/clothe/love them kind of way (you don’t need to call DOCS quite yet), but I have been putting my short term convenience ahead of my kids learning skills to help them become independent.
This epiphany came to me when Meg asked me to tie up the drawstring bow on her school pants. “Can’t you tie a bow?” I asked (though really what was I expecting since I hadn’t taught her) “then who ties up the strings after you have been to the toilet?” It turns out that she had got her teacher or Hannah to do it for her. I’m sure her teacher is really impressed about that one!
At the same time, I’ve been trying to teach Hannah to turn the shower on and off independently. Whilst we aren’t about to run out of water any time soon, we try not to waste it, so spending 5 minutes adjusting the water taps was too much, and I was just doing it. But with school camp coming up next term, I want her to be able to shower (at least once) herself, so the heat is on to teach her.
It’s got me thinking about other independent skills I need to teach the kids. When I was their age I had to make my bed, polish my shoes, set the table (the kids already do this), and help wash up. I’m sure there were other chores too.
In many ways our kids are already very independent. They feed chickens and collect the eggs. They get themselves too and from the bus at the gate each day. They help bring in the wood, and pick vegetables from the garden for dinner. I just need to transfer that farm independence into some of the more domestic settings.
What skills do you think children should be taught by their parents? Am I missing anything?