Parents’ Most Important Task
If I asked you, what is the most important task of parents, what would you answer? I believe parents’ most important task is to teach children to manage their own behavior in age appropriate ways. Parents need to learn how to do that. Your goal as a parent is to work yourself out of a job.
Focus on What Your Child Does Right
For example, your toddler is learning little by little to dress him or her self. What do you do? You teach him how to put on his underwear, his shirt, his pants. Praise and encourage him for what he does.
“Look at you. You put on your own panties. It won’t be long before you can put on your socks. You must be very proud.” Always praise the action, not the child.
When your child takes off his/her clothes, be sure you have provided a place for him to put soiled clothes. Provide low rods and accessable drawers for clothes that can be worn again. Start early to teach everything has its place. Clothes don’t belong on the floor. It is very difficult to teach this important behavior after children become busy teenagers. Unfortunately, many adults have not learned to hang up their clothes and put dirty clothes in a hamper.
When your youngster finishes his/her bath have a place for his bath toys to be put “in their bed”. Give him a wash cloth to wipe around the bathtub. You are training him at an early age to take care of what he uses. Don’t expect him to be good at it. That isn’t the point. Never do for your child what he can do for himself unless you make it clear that this a favor.
In the next few blog posts I plan to share more about how to make your children independent and capable. Check out my book, “How to Get Kids to Help at Home” to learn how to make children capable and responsible.