Monday, December 3, 2012

Mommy I Want to Do it Myself! (Overcoming My Need to Micro-manage)

The other day I was brushing my teeth with one hand while scrolling through emails with the other hand while also trying to wriggle out of my pants in preparation for the shower.  That's when it hit me that maybe I really am in too much of a hurry all the time. For example, my daughter has been trying to buckle herself into her car seat but it's pretty tough and I know she can do it if I give her enough time, but it seems like we're always in such a hurry.  

Being in a hurry though, is all relative.  Susan Case, former Kindergarten Teacher and best-selling author (and my co-author) maintains how important it is for kids to have the time to learn to do practical things by themselves.  She says, "Kids need to feel empowered.  They need to feel like Mom and Dad trust them and that they have the room to grow and learn."

I knew she was right.  When I hurry the kids along or just take over something they were trying to do, I might as well be saying, "You're not good enough so I need to take over."  That's certainly not something I want my kids to learn so I decided to put this in action for Christmas preparations.  When it was time to get my Christmas Cards ready, at first I just wanted to get it done as quickly as possible, and I hated the idea of her getting paper cuts or messing up the envelopes, but I decided to give it a try and she totally proved me wrong (she's four and a half).  We did it together and she stuffed and licked about twenty envelopes.  Not only that, she saved me a ton of time and was very efficient and she took a lot of pride in her work.

Next I let them have a big part in decorating the house.  Overall, they did a great job and only fought a few times.  Little Buddy wasn't quite as interested in helping, but he's getting there (you can see him below, stuffed into a doll bed, which is where he sat for much of the Christmas decorating):

I have to say that I was very pleased with all of these successful experiments.  I love the idea of having little helpers around the house, and I really don't want them to think that I think that they aren't good enough in my eyes.  By the end of the weekend, I got really brave and let her paint her own fingers and toes. I supervised closely, of course, but she painted every single finger and toe all by herself.  And I didn't even clean them up after she was done.  I've come a long way and so have my kids.

For more ideas on empowering your kids and giving them activities to do around the house, please check out my new book, which I co-wrote with Susan Case. The Happy Mommy Handbook: The Ultimate How-to Guide on Keeping Your Toddlers and Preschoolers Busy, Out of Trouble, and Motivated to Learn was released this summer.  If you have ever tried to cook dinner while your kid clings to your leg and cries, this is the book for you!  As we did above, we give you a Mom's point of view and a teacher's point of view, so that you can do activities that not only keep the kids busy, but also keep them motivated to learn and develop their natural curiosity.  Kids behave better when they are given challenging projects to work on, which will in turn give you more free time to do the things you really need to do, like washing dishes, paying bills, and relaxing so that you can be a better Mom!

We were thrilled be to be given the opportunity to talk about this to you in person!  Check out this video we created to show you more about the book!

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  1. Oh my goodness did you read my mind I am working on a post this afternoon about something a little similar. Love this post!

    1. Can't wait to see your post too! Great minds think alike!! ;-)

  2. This was good for me to hear. I'm always in a hurry. Thanks.

  3. WOW, paint her nails. I too have to slow down and let the boys be empowered... got get rid of this control freak syndrome I have first. Great post!

    1. Well they weren't the prettiest nails around but we had fun!! ;-)

  4. I love it!! You know, when I was "working" (cough), EVERY YEAR my performance review would say something about my lack of ability to delegate (because it's easier to do things myself than to have to teach someone else...). I obviously still have the same problem. Maybe I'll start by teaching my 5-yo to cut his nails. :)

  5. Oh--and as far as being in a hurry, I let us be late for preschool yesterday because the boys wanted to re-enact my wedding (my 3-yo had pulled my wedding shoes out of my closet, and then they wanted to dress up and have a ceremony). I thought, "oh, why not?? They won't be this cute forever."

    1. Wow that's awesome!! Good or you I bet that was so cute!!