Feeling overwhelmed by all the items on your daily to-do list? Well, it's time to shift some of your load over to the mini's! As parents, we tend to hold on to the vision of the bouncing newborn we brought home from the hospital long after the days of swaddle time and midnight feedings are behind us. It's a way for us to encapsulate the moments when our babies needed us the most. Years later, we find ourselves still holding on to tasks that we should no longer handle. The following tips will help you to determine what
tasks to pass on and when, in order to prepare your child for their future adult selves, as well as allow you the time and space needed to regain your personal identity.
1. Give yourself the credit you deserve.
One of the hardest reasons it's hard to pass tasks off to others, is because we fear that they will not get done the "right way". The beauty about parenthood is that our children love to emulate us. As the leader of your household, you set the foundation of emulative learning within your home. Although your child may fail to perfectly execute their tasks immediately, since they enjoy making their parents proud, they will eventually master their new responsibilities in exchange for that pat on the pat on the back they desire.
2. Start small.
A great starting point is during infancy. Begin with small tasks like allowing your baby to hold their bottle, or spoon feed themselves once they start to show signs of arm strength and hand-eye coordination. As your infant strolls into their toddler years, teach them to say goodnight and walk into their room, own their own, without any assistance from mom and dad or their favorite sibling. These small doses of responsibility, will allow both you and your mini to become comfortable with their independence, a critical factor to allowing for an ease of future transfers of power with the greater tasks to come.
3. Tell me, show me, involve me, let me.
This concept is commonly used in the day-to-day life of a manager in the business world. As the manager of your household, applying this same concept is a key element in transferring responsibilities over to your mini. The duration of training depends on the task. For instance, a task as simple as having your child turn off their own lights before bed would consist of first telling them what the expectation is, then simply showing them how to turn the light off on the same day the new expectation is revealed to them. The following night, you would then instruct your mini to turn off their own light as you both walk into his or her room, heading towards their bed. Night three would be the magical day that you tell your mini to turn his or her light off as soon as they get to their room, after you give them their goodnight hugs in a separate room. After about 5 minutes, peek your head around the corner to make sure they completed the task. More complex tasks such as cleaning their room would require 3 to 4 weeks of a this process.
4. Remain diligent and patient.
This is perhaps the most essential tip of all. It's human nature to give up when things get hard. As parents, we tend to take back responsibilities that we would like to pass on to our children simply because it's the solution that allows for immediate gratification for all. Rather than listening to our mini complain about having to take on additional responsibility, or dealing with the frustration that comes with teaching them how to properly complete the task, we find it easier to continue life as it is, disregarding the long term benefits of passing the baton. DO NOT fall for this! Push through the pain and remain consistent, diligent, and patient through the process. Remember, it takes 21 days to form a habit. Before you decide to pause the training process, think to yourself, "Do I want to be frustrated and overwhelmed for the same reasons I am today, 30 days from now"? If the answer is no, push through the pain. These days will soon be behind you.