I mentioned in my last post that we started working on some independence and responsibility tactics in our household as of late. I have to say that I have been impressed with the impact on my kids - and on my way of thinking about my kids. Man, am I glad that I love to read!
Unintentional Outcome #1 - The Pool.
Every Sunday afternoon, the local YMCA has an open swim time on Sunday afternoon. The kids look forward to it every week and I love that I can incorporate physical activity and quality time with my kiddos into one trip across town! So, as usual we jumped in. My little Joey (3) is fearless and often wants to jump into the pool before I get in to catch him. Something that Kay Wyma said in her book rang in my ears, as I was supporting his wriggling body up and down the lanes of the pool. "By always sheltering our kids, we are telling them that they can't do it on their own." OK, so I can't exactly let my just learning to swim 3 year old alone in water over his head, but I can equip him for his own independence.
I popped out of the pool, sitting my over eager preschooler on the side for just a moment and ventured into the supply closet that houses the floating toys and dive sticks and came out with a child size life jacket. Oh how Joey fought that thing, stating that he didn't want to put it on. "Let's just try it." I coaxed and before long I had strapped him into the flotation device and plunged him back into the pool.
Before my eyes, a reaction that I read about but not allowed myself to put in practice fleshed out. Joey started swimming, without me holding on to him. He kicked his feet, paddled his arms and called out to me from a whopping three feet away "Mom, I'm a great swimmer!" That three feet felt like an enormous distance for me who was used to constantly having a slippery little boy pulling at my arm hairs and clinging to me for two hours every Sunday. It felt huge for Joey too being just barely out of mom's reach was an enormous source of independence and I couldn't help but yell back. "I knew you were buddy! Look how good you are doing and all on your own." That night he couldn't WAIT for dad to get home so he could tell him all about how he swam all by himself **happy mommy heart**
Unintentional Outcome #2 - Clean Socks
Monday mornings are a particular challenge for our family. Chad goes to work early, Jackson drags his feet and tries to squeeze as much time in bed or snuggling out of the morning as he can, and Joey and I have our day together at home so none of us move too very fast. This morning Jackson was dressed before he came into my room to nudge me out of bed, however when we got downstairs and finished breakfast I found that one article was omitted, the socks. As usual, I had to direct my child that socks were required and told him that I just put clean socks in his laundry basket upstairs.
Five minutes went by, then ten, unfortunately this is not uncommon as my distractable little man often forgets his intended goal in favor of an action figure, etc. I was about to scream up to him when I remembered that I'm not screaming anymore. So I climbed the stairs to see what caused the delay and give "The Eye" to hurry up the process. When I reached his room, what I found was amazing. In order to get to the clean socks which were at the bottom of the laundry basket, he started *shock and amazement* hanging up the clothes that were laying on top of the basket rather than just scooping them off on his bed, grabbing the socks and dealing with it later. I couldn't believe it. The kid that just goes slow in the morning was taking the time not to monkey around with his Lego table, but to put his clothes away on hangers even!
As hard as it is to see my kids growing up and gaining independence I am immensely proud that they are learning responsibility at such a young age and I hope that serves them well going through. Now if I could just apply that work ethic to my own project A.D.D. I might get some stuff done around this place!