How do you get your children to be more independent and do things for themselves?

Kirsten - posted on 04/26/2010 ( 11 moms have responded )

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My daughter is 8 and would like everything to be done by me...No matter what I ask her to do. My 14 year old seems to just be lazy and he doesn't do anything.

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Apps+8278986302 - posted on 04/28/2010

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Hi Kitsten, You have gotten some very good advice. I have 8 children and they all help around the home. Ages 2-18 year. They are much happier when they know that they are doing something for everyones good. It wasn't always like that at our home and it will be very hard for you to change. I tell my children that in the Bible it says that if you don't work then neither shall you eat. If I tell then to clean up their room and it is not done by the next meal, then they have to go to their room and may not come out until their room is clean. Well not to preschoolers, but when they are 7 they are responsible for cleaning up their toys and straitening the blanket on the bed. And puting their laundry in the hamper. I also make it a point to not have more toys in their room than they can clean up. I have a 14year old and she is responsible for clearing off half the table and cleaning out or stacking the dishwasher. Her 18 yr old sister does the other half. My 16 year old son is and has been for 5 years responsible for sweeping the floors. And cleaning the bathrooms. My 8 & 11 yr old sons pick up all the toys and books in the dining & living room and vaccum the play room and stairs. My youngest 2 girls 7 & 8 yr help clean up toys and the porches and other things like helping the 2 year old clean up his toys. You might think that it is alot that my children do, but when you have a big family like I do, I would never have time to give them cuddles if I had to do everything. And also my 16yr old son has started working for others on Saturdays and they are very impressed with his work habits. The bosses don't want to hire kids that have never had to work at home. The children need to know that they are needed. If they have to help they will have a higher self worth. As the mother you have to make chores fun. I started with getting them to help me with a few things. I find that if I spend alot of time working with my children they are more open in their conversations and you can help them more with problems that they might be facing in school or with their friends.
I do not want my sons to be the kind of husbands that just throw everything on the floor for their wives to clean up and expect her to do everything for them. I want them to help their wives and not be lazy men who live on welfare and drain the system. And also I do not want my daughters to sit and watch TV all day and not take care of their children and are too lazy to cook healthy meals for the nurishment of their children.
Thinking in the long term helps me to be more consistant in training them to be useful human beings.
We also have days where the children get to pick what they want to have for supper and then they make it. With my help of course until they know how to make it. We do not look at it as a chore. They are very proud of their meal and I make sure that at supper time i tell everyone that this is a very special meal because so and so made it. And you should just see the smile of pride and accomplishment that the person has and can't wait until the next time that they get to cook for the family. I do not believe in haveing super prideful children, but they have to have some pride or they will have nothing to live for. Also don't be too fussy about how they make it. We have had some wacky meals. And when they taste what they have made, they learn with my help, what they might want to do next time to make it even better. But they are learning and becoming well rounded human beings.
Hope that helps.

Heather - posted on 04/26/2010

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Well, I say it depends on what they want help with. My 5 year old just learned to tie his shoes, so if he wants to go outside and play, he has to put them on and tie them by himself, other wise, he has to stay inside. My boys are responsible for cleaning their room, if it is not clean, then they don't get to play. Same for putting away clothes or what not. Each responsibility is just that, their responsibility, and if it doesn't get done, they don't get to do the fun things they want to do.

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Carla - posted on 05/16/2014

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Emma, at 4 he SHOULD be dressing himself--you will have to help him with his color coordinations, of course ;) Put his clothes on his bed and tell him he has to be dressed before he can have breakfast, play outside, watch cartoons, etc. Starting early (info for next child coming along) to make them independent is vital.

1/2 hour before his scheduled bedtime tell him he needs to get his jammies on, brush his teeth, go potty, get a drink of water, whatever your routine is. Say his prayers then tell him good-night. Then walk out. If he gets up, don't say anything to him, just put him back in bed. You will probably have a couple rough nights, because he has learned if he makes a fuss, you'll get him up, or put him in your bed or whatever. This is the Supernanny method and it WILL work, if you are consistent. If you give in ONCE, you have lost.

Raising children is hair-raising, but it CAN be done ;)

God bless, honey

Emma - posted on 05/15/2014

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Hi I have a 4 year old boy, who always wants my help with every thing he starts school soon and he wont feed his self and dress he always wants his mummy help bed times are hard too would love some advise ?

Nancy - posted on 04/30/2010

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This is an easy one for me because I was born INDEPENDENT! I think my first words may have been, "I do it myself!" Although I can't really remember my first words, I do remember my four children's first words. Among their first words were, "I do it myself!"
It was natural for me to LET them do what they were able to do for themselves. There is an age and stage in their development when children WANT to do things. Since I reasoned with myself the day they were born that I would ALLOW them to do what they were able to do, then I just waited until they showed an interest in doing it and stepped back so they could. I was nearby in case they needed help, but most times they just got better at their task by repeatedly doing it.
By the time they were teenagers, everyone of them were washing their own clothes, not because I asked them to do so, but because they liked their way of doing it better than mine!
I don't recall ever asking them to do the dishes because that was my "quiet" time. No one came near me while I was doing the dishes.
I didn't give my children regular chores to do because I chose not to take on the added responsibility of the enforcement of them. However, my grown children do give their children chores to do, and I can see that it is good training for my grandchildren.

Zandria - posted on 04/30/2010

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STOP! you are not being a strong christian mother by allowing you children to do nothing. they will grow as afults expecting you to do everything. they will have no concept of responsibility. You may be starting late but now is the time to train them to be responsible, God fearing young adults. start with NO! give them each a small chore around the house like have your oldets cset and clear the table . have yiur other one sweep the kitchen floor after meals. you may need to supervise at first but eorks if they dont do it or put up a fuss stsrting priveleges away for the rest of the day. cell phones game boys etc...

Sue - posted on 04/30/2010

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I downloaded a book called the good child guide, it is very helpful and full of good practical advice. it for children up to 12 years old and shows how to motivate them. I am a mum eight children aged 2 - 11. Hope this helps.

Stina - posted on 04/29/2010

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If my kids can do it for themselves, I don't do it for them. Of course my kids are young- 5, 3 and a baby. If they ask politely for milk, I'll pour it for them- especially if I'm already up, but my 5 yo is able to pour his own milk, so I encourage him to whenever the opportunity arises. I also expect my 5 and 3 yo to put their clothes in the hamper, pick up their toys and clear their own dishes from the table.

You'll get a lot of resistance from your kids since they are older, but decide now that you are going to expect them to be responsible and follow through with them consistently. They'll thank you later.

Sit down with both kids, talk to them about what you expect from them- post some chores on the refrigerator and define some rewards and consequences. Above all, stand your ground. They will put up a fight when the old way is replaced with a new way that involves them doing more, but it'll be worth it.

Ene - posted on 04/27/2010

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Hi Kirsten, building a foundation early is very important. If you spent the earlier years dotting after your children and doing things for them, then you should expect them to be lazy. I love my daughter but I have to make her responsible to herself. My daughter will be two years old in about two weeks; still, I teach her to do stuffs by herself and now she loves it. She knows where everything is located; I ask her to get stuffs for me or to give to her dad which she loves. And now, she enjoys getting involved in all that I do. She's not doing any house chores but she's learning these things. So for your kids, you will have to stop doing some stuffs for them. If they choose to ignore it, fine; I don't see them ignoring that for too long if they really need those things. So rather than smothering your kids, it is time you took charge and let them be independent. You got to decide to do this for them. Well, I am African and in Africa, we do not send our parents on errands so the environment is much different. Still, if it bothers you, then put your foot down.

Anne - posted on 04/26/2010

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Hi Kirsten, because you have been doing everything for your children it will take time for them to realize that you are no longer giving them a free ride. Please so not think I am judging you. I did expect our daughters to help around the house, and there were still times when our daughters had to learn the hard way that if their clothes were not in their hamper on laundry day, they may end up either doing their own laundry or not have clean clothes.

You may want to start with a chore list for each child. Make sure you give them consequences for not completing their chores. You may also need to make a rule for yourself--- If they do not do the work you are not allowed to to it for them, unless they were too ill to stand. LOL

Stephanie - posted on 04/26/2010

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well, my oldest are 7, so they're not quite your kids ages, but. when my gals ask me for something, I tell them. you know where it is and how to do it. go get it yourself. :) that's why God gave you hands, or legs, or whatever. :)

for cleaning stuff, I tell them. You're a part of this family. You made the mess. You get to clean it up.

I don't argue. I won't do it for them. If they really want it, they'll do it.

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