While today’s generation is open to counselling, life skills sessions and empathy learning, there is much that can be learnt just by observing. The most common question that I face as a counselling psychologist in Mumbai is ‘How can my child help me? I get so overwhelmed with chores.’ As I work on charting a plan for the child, the next statement from the parent usually is about the downtown paraphernalia. The parent says, ‘She hardly has any time in her hands with school, classes, after school lessons, hobby and homework.’ My two cents on this is ‘Let them try. Let them learn to make time. Let them be confident and independent. ’
It is true that the struggles of metro life catch them too soon. But then adaptation helps them learn to accept things and provide for time. The key for this is the willingness to be independent. This has to be taught as early in life as possible. They may err, make mistakes, fumble with buttons or drawstrings, spill water and mess their bag, but this is how a toddler learns to be independent. It is just a part of learning. Remember, how many times you fell off the bicycle while learning it? The same it is about life’s lessons at every age.
Age appropriate chores are important. Allow them to play and have fun along with the chore. They may not be perfect at their job but avoid remarks and appreciate that they tried well. Also, while assigning them chores, explain and show them how to do it. With DIY catching up, they too have their own ideas for packing a travel bag or cleaning their desk. Accept the innovation and adopt new practices.
Being highly critical sends them down the escape route and such a child will totally avoid the particular work even during later years of life. It is good to assign kids with weekly jobs, rotate the jobs with another sibling and not restrict them to a very rigid routine. For starters, let them be independent individuals. This refers to packing their own school bag, washing their snack box, rinsing the water bottle, arranging their mini library and packing books to school. Initially, you will require supervising and habitually they will get independent. Teaching your child to be independent will help you and it is a matter of pride to raise independent kids.
Nisha Pinto mother of three gorgeous kids says, “ I am inculcating all that was taught by my mother. All chores have to be done by both genders. I switch job roles for both genders. Most important thing is I meet them halfway…. for e.g, if they agree to do it, but a little later, I am ok with that. Flexibility and freedom works!
The benefits of raising independent children are:
- They have better self-esteem.
- Their Self confidence is high.
- They rarely seem helpless.
- They foster creative thinking.
- Their logics get sound.
- They turn out to be assertive individuals.
- Better time managers.