The Teacher is Talking
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The Teacher is Talking: Stuff Your Kids Can Do On Their Own

By Leslie Lindsay

Just recently, I am have begun feeling like the maid.  Okay, I admit:  perhaps I have been feeling like the maid since these little cherubs popped out of me, oh about 7 years ago.  But, now that they are fully functional little beings with school, friends, and attitudes all their own, I am scratching my head and wondering just why do I keep doing for them what I think they can do on their own?

For example, my oldest daughter is an early riser.  Really early.  She is dressed when I see her in the morning (after lumbering out of bed at the late hour of 7:30 am or so), and that’s really a good help.  I get breakfast going for her.  I usually pack her lunch–everyday–and I even do her hair, hover over her while she brushes her teeth–and yes, I will even suggest what shoes go best with her outfit.  (That shoe thing has recently come to an end.  I finally said, “I don’t care what shoes you wear.  Stop asking.  You can figure this out on your own.”  Yes, it was a little bit of a tirade, but now I have one last thing to do for her).

But I got to thinking:  Can she pour her own bowl of cereal now?  Surely she can…maybe I should let her?  (Or, do I keep doing it myself to avoid crying over spilt milk?)  It used to be that I “did” breakfast because I didn’t want her operating the toaster (breakfast has very routinely been Eggo waffles until recently).  I don’t know….

What about loading the dishwasher?  Unloading the dishwasher?  Taking the dog out?  Feeling the dog?  Is is too much to ask her to make her bed and open her blinds in the morning?  But sometimes, it’s just easier to do it myself to avoid having to slow down to teach her how to do a task, or clarify, or deal with a meltdown.  Then again, I don’t want to be pouring her cereal in the dining hall when she is away at college, either!

According to a March 2012 article in Parenting School Kids, here are some things your kiddo can do on his/her own:

  • Bring papers home from school for you to sign, and return them to the teacher
  • Pack/unpack a backpack
  • Remember to bring home an instrument, assignment, library book, gym clothes, etc to school—or suffer the consequences.
  • Make an easy sandwich, like cream cheese and jelly or PBJ
  • Fold towels and sort laundry (beginning at age 8, kids can do whole loads)
  • Make his/her own bed
  • Load/unload the dishwasher
  • Gather trash bags from each room and put them in the main garbage bag
  • Sort groceries

Great!  If my kids did all of that today…I could (maybe) sit on the couch and eat bon-bons!  Bring it on. 


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