You do it for me!

compassionate parenting confident kids emotionally intelligent kids independent kids Nov 16, 2021

One of my sons was applying for a management training scheme this week.

He likes to ask for our help and support, whereas his brother is much more likely to go it alone.

Kids are all so different aren't they?

I was pretty busy with my own work and he came to me asking me to help with the cover letter and application form.

He’d left it all to the last minute which frustrated me but I know that’s not unusual and it's something I've done myself.

I was torn, do I put my stuff to one side and help or do I tell him to work it out himself?

 As parents we are constantly making decisions about the best approach, aren’t we?

 In the end I did a bit of both.

 I helped him and I suggested he email a friend of ours who works in that sector and he got it in with one minute to spare!

So this week, I’ve got some tips on what to do if your child always wants you to do stuff for them.

Have you noticed that some kids have a more independent streak than others?

It starts young.  Some babies will grab the spoon and insist on feeding themselves, others will sit, mouth open expecting to be fed!

So what do we do?

 Here are my 7 top tips for helping kids do more for themselves 

  1. Always be encouraging independent thought – ask far more questions than tell or give answers. So for example, ask ‘Where do we put this?’ ‘How do we make that?’
  2. Give them tasks from an early age – point to the dirty clothes basket and make a game of throwing their clothes in, hand them nappies to put in the bin, help them to climb up to reach things.
  3. When they say: ‘You do it’, instead of getting into a battle, put into words what they want: ‘It feels nicer if I do things for you. You don’t feel like doing that for yourself’.
  4. Then state what you need to happen: ‘I am helping you to be more grown up so I need you to pick up your toys/ feed yourself/ get your pants on by yourself’. Then ask the question ‘What do I need you to do?’
  5. Be prepared to wait it out. Not in an ‘I’m going to win this battle’ kind of way, but just change the subject and wait. It’s a time investment that is really worth while.
  6. You can always offer support. ‘I’m happy to help you but I’m not going to do it all for you. I know that feels frustrating doesn’t it?’
  7. Praise the process, not the result as it is so much more motivating. ‘Hey, you’ve got started. You put one sock on all by yourself’.  This works much better than waiting till your child is fully dressed before you say anything.

I hope you find that useful.

Join our facebook community My Parenting Village to get support from other parents and from everything going on in the group.  We have regular guest speakers and I do live Q&A sessions.  

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