As a parent, it’s easy to get into a rut of treating your child as if they’re a certain age – long past they need a particular kind of help, out of auto pilot parenting.
One evening a few years ago, I remember cutting Nick’s meat into small pieces at the dinner table out of habit, I had always done it. I looked up at him and suddenly thought and said, “Nick, you’re 10 years old. You can cut your own meat.” I handed him the knife and fork, and he did. Whoa! What a parenting moment for me. I was performing a rote behaviour, to help my child, when I realized that I was doing it out of habit and that he could easily do it himself.
Examine your child, their motor skills, their age, their capabilities, and give them a chance to try a new skill this week. They can do so much more than we expect as they grow. Meat cutting aside, the boys have been doing their own laundry since the ages of 7 and 5, cleaning the bathroom since 8, helping cook and meal prep since 10, helping care for pets since 5 and 7, and they’ve had basic chores since ages 2 and 4.
Also, bonus points if you ask your child what they’d like to learn or help with as the answer may surprise you! Max was the one who chose cleaning the bathroom and Nick wanted to take over the care of our house plants last year, things I wouldn’t have chosen for them, and they are both very proud and capable of these chores.