The bittersweet truth about being a parent with kids is that kids grow up so fast after the first year or two. In the first few months of their lives, time seems to move so slow, what with all the sleepless nights and early mornings when your little bundle of joy decides to wake up and make you know about it with a wail that could wake up the dead.
Then suddenly, they seem to be quickly growing each day. Pretty soon, they will be old enough to leave home. You know you will not be around forever to watch over them, so you worry about them being ready for independence.
Teaching Your Kids Independence
For the sake of your kids’ futures, slowly teach them to be independent, starting from an early age. Here are some pointers:
Assign them chores
This task teaches them responsibility. Start with simple things like making up the bed every morning and putting toys away after playing. As they grow older, assign them chores like table setting before meals and cleaning up after, washing dishes, preparing meals, and taking out the garbage, among others. Make rules to ensure compliance like chores first before fun.
Teach them to save
This task teaches children the value of money. Don’t always spend on the things they want (e.g., console games, new sneakers, the latest cellphone, tickets to sporting events or concerts, etc.). Teach them to set aside part of their allowance each day until they have enough to purchase what they want. Leave it to them to decide if they want to buy it, though. Chances are they will pass after going through the effort of saving.
Encourage them to work during the summer
This task teaches them the value of work. When they are too young to go out on their own to work, offer to pay them to, for example, mow the lawn, wash the car, or paint the fence. Encourage them to provide these same services to the neighbours. When they are older, encourage them to go to neighbourhood stores, restaurants, or offices to check for summer vacancies.
Let them play “house”
This task teaches them to make decisions on their own. When they reach the age of 15 to 16, assuming they have been trained in doing household chores, managing money, taking on summer jobs, managing their time, etc., it is time to see if they can run a household on their own. One way to do this, assuming you have a vacant space in your property, is to engage granny flat builders to construct a “halfway home” and move your kids there. Give them half of the household budget and let them “earn” the rest; i.e., if they show they can raise the money for the other half, you will still give them that half. Leave them alone to run the household but keep an eye out in case they need help.
The best way to be parents to our kids is to prepare them to be independent. The acid test, with the help of granny flat builders, you can give them a “laboratory” for independent living.