Do you remember when we would ride our bikes in bare feet and come home when the street lights came on? I do and there was never any fear. It was pure freedom and independence. I loved it. I would run out the door and head to my best friend’s house across the street without a care in the world.
I wish it was still like that. But it’s not. If you let your kids run around the neighborhood unsupervised after dark you can be sure someone would report you to the cops. And I’d never do that in fear that something would happen to my babies. So how do I teach independence?
I can see my two craving their independence more and more at home. Annabel is six and Daniel is seven and a half. They both want to jump on their bikes and cruise down the street without me or my husband right next to them. I would always pick out my daughter’s clothes and lay them on her bed, but now she comes downstairs all dressed, and hair brushed, without any help at all. My son struggles each morning to grab his own cereal box and milk from the top shelves because I haven’t moved them to a lower space yet.
Well, I’m finally going to fix that. I’m working on some “Kids Independence” projects in my house and we’re starting in the kitchen. I’m going to move the bowls and cups to the reachable shelves and shift the pantry and fridge items so they can finally reach what they need. It is a little silly that I constantly have to grab them a granola bar or bag of pretzels when they’re hungry. I can control what I stock on “their shelf” so they can stay healthy while still flexing that independence muscle. I haven’t done it yet because I like to maintain some control around here and, to be honest, it always gets moved to the bottom of my daily “to do” list.
I’m definitely on the more conservative side with parenting. I was the last of my group of friends to take my kids to a “movie theater” movie. If they play in the back yard, I have to be out there with them. I don’t allow random sleepovers or last minute play dates. But I do want my children to learn to be strong and independent. So we’re starting with baby steps. No, big kid steps. I’m finally moving the milk carton and that will have to be good enough for now.
More “Kids Independence” projects to come. Stay tuned….