This was a very busy week at our house! I am trying to finish up all my Spring cleaning before Maya's Spring break at school next week. In the middle of this craziness, I stumbled upon a little surprise that has just been waiting for me to find. News Flash - Maxwell James is ready, willing, and able to help around the house! Let's see...what would be the word to describe my reaction to this newfound phenomenon? Ecstatic! (Does that one word convey the excitement I feel right now??) :) I also want to make clear that I am VERY proud of my little boy for stepping up, volunteering, and following through. I have really been selling him short!
One problem that almost all parents face is the transition from a helpless, completely dependent child to a child who can *almost* take care of himself. No, I'm not suggesting that you leave your little one at home while you make a quick run to the grocery. I do, however, think that our kids are capable of more than we think. They can do more than feed themselves, pick up toys, and get dressed...We just have to give them the chance to learn for themselves!
Too many times I find myself doing things for my kids, rather than allowing them to finish on their own. Sometimes it is because I'm in a hurry, but most often it's because I've grown so accustomed to 'helping' that I automatically take over at the first sign of distress. No more! Maxwell James showed me that not only is he capable of doing much more than I assumed, but he is a very happy helper. In the past few days, he has helped me clean the bathrooms (yes - toilets and all!), fold laundry, vacuum, dust, make all the beds, and feed/water the dog. He always helps me make the beds, helps Seth with the garbage, and he or Maya usually take care of Louie, but I had never thought of asking him to help me with some of these other chores. As I was working, he was bored and volunteered to help. I gave him the tools he needed, and he didn't complain once. In fact, he was so proud of himself for helping! I think that was reward enough, but I took him to McDonald's for a happy meal as well. That's what he wanted!
What can we learn from this? It's simple. Do you want your kids to stop acting like babies? Then stop treating them like babies! Stop doing everything for them, and let them learn to do it on their own. Max still comes to the breakfast table with his pants on backward sometimes, or spills his drink, or makes a mess when trying to eat his spaghetti - but that is a small price to pay for my sanity.