July is a month to celebrate independence! For some of us with young children, it takes practice to work through the pain of letting go so our children can grow! Even before our kids are out of diapers, we can see and hear them exclaiming “I can do it myself!” And that’s a good thing.
For children to become independent adults, they must learn to do things on their own. You can never start too early! From simple chores to contributing to daily meals, allowing you child to give their input and make choices in order to foster independence. Check out our “Independent” machine washable lunch tote for summer outings and back-to-school!
We welcome parenting expert and new grandparent Annie Fox AKA “Granny Annie” as she shares sage advice on letting go and fostering independence in kids.
They’re moving toward independence… and so are we!
By Annie Fox, M.Ed.
I’m wired to cry. So naturally I sobbed hysterically after dropping my 18-month-old daughter at preschool. (Hey, I got better the second week!) I bawled as I dropped her off at college and when her little brother left for college six years later, the waterworks gushed again. Kids beginning a new chapter in life can do that to parents. It can also make us feel incredibly proud, especially if they (and we) worked hard to reach that point.
As graduation parties wind down and you begin thinking about the next round of challenges coming up in the fall, here are some tips to help you through this transition:
Let them have their summer! Kids need to relax and so do we. Yes things must get done before school starts up again, but unless your child won’t calm down until all school supplies and clothes are purchased, then save it for August and let them enjoy a balance of structured and unstructured time.
Step back so they can step up! Summer is a great time to help kids develop responsibility. They’ll need it because each new grade level requires kids to take more responsibility for their education (even in pre-school). They’ll only meet upcoming challenges when we require more of them as team members of Our Family. So pick a few chores that are age-appropriate. Be specific and don’t load them down with home and garden projects all day every day. Remember, it’s summer! (See tip #1)
Create new goals for yourself! Our kids are moving toward independence – just as Nature intended. We’re moving in that direction too and eventually we’ll work our way out of this full-time parenting gig. (That’s part of your job description. Check the fine print on your kid’s birth certificate.) Even if your child is just starting preschool, kindergarten or first grade in the fall, the clock is running down on the “under the same roof” phase of parenting.Summer is a great time to remember that before you were a parent you were a person with unique interests and talents. What would you do with at least one extra hour a week just for yourself? Set a goal for yourself and get started now. Let your kids in on the goal and on your progress, too. (That’s great modeling!) If you chose well, working on your goal will sustain you on many levels when your child (eventually) leaves the nest.
Now go have some summer fun and don’t forget to share a family tip for building responsibility in your own home. How do you foster Independence in your kids? Share with Chipper in the comments below!