I think most parents want their children to grow up self-confident and capable. We want our children to have good self-esteem and to be able to handle whatever life throws their way. Yet, everday children are robbed of the opportunity to complete the activities that would help them develop those skills.
Every time a parent or caregiver does for a child something that the child could do for him or herself, that child is being robbed!
Every time a child practices and improves a skill and finally accomplishes the task at hand, their confidence grows. The pride comes through loud and clear when you hear a child announce, "I did it!" They are learning that they can care for themselves, they can meet the challenges of the day with success!
When we are in a hurry and just want the child's shoes or coat to get on, or the house to get cleaned, the message we send is, "You can't do it. It's too hard. You're too slow." It's not intentional, but the message is there, loud and clear. Not the message most of us want to send.
What should your child be able to do? Bright Start has a list of AGES and STAGES.
And Hands On: As We Grow has an article about developing life skills as well.
The other day I watched one of my buddies struggle to put away his bedding. As he tried to put his blankets into the bag, the strap from the bag had fallen into the bag and blocked his way. I could see he was a little frustrated and an older child rushed to assist. Normally, I would consider that a good thing. I love that my buddies all want to help someone in need. But I knew two things: #1.This child was capable of putting his bedding away and had done it before many times. #2. This child has a habit of asking to be rescued or giving up before accomplishing his goals. So, I stopped my helpful buddy from helping. I said, "No, it's okay, I know (my buddy) can do it, he has done it MANY times." This seemed all the encouragement that my buddy needed to get the job done. And he was so pleased with himself for figuring out that the strap was in the way, I watched his confidence in his ability grow right before my eyes! Encouragement and a little more time were all that he needed, and I am glad we didn't rush to help and lose the opportunity for this growth.
Why not take the extra minute and allow your child to experience the pride in doing it themself?