clean up fairy

Letting Children Do It For Themselves

clean up fairy

“This is one of those parenting tasks that are difficult for most of us. But the benefits are great. Perhaps the most wonderful payoff in allowing your child to master life through age-appropriate tasks and skills comes from the boost to his self-esteem. The more capable a child is, the more confident the child will become. With confidence, and a full repertoire of important life skills, comes a stronger, more positive self-mage that will enable your child to take on whatever life imposes.”

The above quote comes from an article called Hamburger: The Importance of Teaching Children to Do for Themselves. It was a great refresher for me on why even though it can take a lot longer sometimes, if one of the kids can do a task for themselves, I should let them do it. In the long run the benefit to me and the child are immense.

The article is an excerpt from a book by Elizabeth Pantley, titled Hidden Messages: What Our Words and Actions are Really Telling Our Children. The excerpt looks at what the hidden message is, that we send to our kids when we do things for them, when they are actually capable of doing them for themselves.

“Every single time you pick up a dirty sock, a used tissue, a crusty cereal bowl or a misplaced toy-every time you do this- you teach your child to believe in the “cleanup fairy.” “

Personally I don’t want my children to believe in the “cleanup fairy”. There are certain tasks my children already do, but there are many more that they are capable of doing. It may require some adjustment to my processes and some investment in time, but I am going to teach the kids some new tasks and completely debunk the myth of the “cleanup fairy” in our house.

I have included some additional links on the issue of encouraging independence in children, that I am going to use to help me do the debunking and hopefully you might find them find useful as well:

The Language of Learned Helplessness Quiz
Makes you look at the type of language you use when you are talking to your children.

Raising an Independent Child
Tips on how to do this with your child.

Kids and Chores

Having kids do chores is a fantastic way to get them to do things for themselves and increase their independence. I have shared what household tasks or chores our kids do in these posts:

And in this post I share how we get the kids to do their chores – most of the time:

EDIT: And this is the latest version of how we are managing household tasks at our house – Family contribution schedule

our family contribution schedule - family chores.jpg