How To Raise Resilient Kids The Easy Way
Kids need love and attention, especially when they are babies. But once they’re in the toddler years and beyond, parents have to let go at some point. The good news is that teaching your child to be resilient doesn’t have to be difficult. In fact, the less you are involved, the better it works out!
So, without further ado, here is every ‘lazy’ mom’s guide to raising resilient kids:
1. Let them give themselves a bath
During a homeschool conference a few years ago, one speaker, Joy Tan-Chi, talked about letting her kids take a bath on their own starting age three. If you’re thinking,, “Hey! I’m not the only ‘lazy’ mom out there!” then you must be relieved. Yes, being ‘lazy’ can actually help your children.
Joy said that doing so teaches kids early on 1) to care for their bodies and 2) that their privates should remain private. And 3) it’s one less job for her to do! If you’re a mom who’s been through teaching kids to bathe on their own, you’ll know all her points are true? Especially number three.
Allowing kids to do what they want with minimal control from their parents at an early age is something of a recurring theme when it comes to teaching self-reliance to kids. It can be a relief to hear validation from another mom about how to do it right.
2. Let them play on their own
Just because you’re a mom who loves your kids doesn’t mean you can’t also love your work. The key is to dedicate time for them because they are the reasons why you’re working at home in the first place.
So, here’s what you can do. For work-at-home moms or full-time moms, basically ignore them in the afternoons when you’re working or busy.
If this concerns you, take comfort in the fact that study after study shows that children thrive with unstructured play(1). Many kids are resourceful with their imagination, having their own language and their own worlds, which they happily inhabit every afternoon. Children and curiosity are natural partners, so kids will find an endless number of things to entertain themselves with.
You don’t need to entertain your kids all the time, and you don’t need to feel guilty about ignoring them.
3. Let them clean up after themselves
What parent hasn’t been ‘lazy’ about keeping the mess away? But you don’t want your kids to be lazy either, do you? So what’s the solution? Order them around.
Make sure – by being firm and consistent – that the kids pack away their things every night. Tell them that their playroom is their responsibility and that no one will go to sleep unless it’s spic-and-span. It can help to organize the room with the Montessori concept that everything should have its own place.
Soon, your kids will get the hang of it. Just help them a bit when they are having trouble. If they’re already busy cleaning up, though, just sit pretty and watch them.
This can be applied to other chores as well. It’s all a part of teaching your child to be self-reliant.
4. Let them dress themselves
Unless you want to keep bending down to put on your child’s clothes for him, you have to be ‘lazy’ and let him do it himself.
Start with letting children put on their own shoes as soon as they show interest, even if it takes a million years for him to get done as this instill the value of perseverance in them. The sense of accomplishment that you’ll see on your toddler’s face will be priceless. Yes, teaching your child to be self-reliant begins with little things like these. And when they get it – congratulations mom! – you don’t have to do it anymore.
5. Let them figure out how to settle differences
Many moms fret over what to do when their children suddenly stop playing and snarl and even hit each other. They often end up playing referee and immediately separate the children from each other.
In Janet Lansbury’s article on sibling toy taking(2), she cites Magda Gerber who advised to “intervene minimally in disputes between siblings.” Take this advice to heart and keep yourself from settling fights between your kids. During times like these, teaching your child to be resilient can be difficult, but keep your goal in mind. Remember that they might be able to learn how to adapt to one another and find a solution on their own.
Yes, your heart will pound in dread when a fight suddenly breaks out. But unless they are really about to or are already hurting each other, just observe without judging them. You’ll be amazed to see how fast they go back to hugging each other.
The value of being ‘lazy’ in settling fights? The kids learn how to adapt to one another and self-reliance to solve their issues and get along with each other.
6. Let them learn to pick themselves up
Many parents are always there to pick their children up the moment they are on their knees.
‘Lazy’ moms will realise that children could benefit from not being rescued all the time – a key realisation that helps in teaching your child self-reliance, resourcefulness and perseverance. At about 18 months, let him wobble up and down inclined areas and try to keep yourself from assisting him.
Celebrate each time he accomplishes his mission without falling. But when he does fall, hold your breath, show your most calm face, and stay where you are.
Practicing this type of mom-laziness is great for kids, though. They get to learn that falling is a natural part of life and that they just have to persevere and always get back up again. Now, how to do this with more serious kinds of falling/failing as they grow older!
7. Let them get their own food
Parents may find it most difficult to be ‘lazy’ when it comes to feeding their children. But there are benefits to be earned in this area too. When your child asks for a sandwich, ask him to make it himself. Tell him to get the bread and his favourite spread and let him prepare it on his own.
Of course, you will still have to work on meals, though. But once the meal is prepared, let your child eat by himself when he wants to.
Advanced ‘lazy’ mom trick: Kill two birds with one stone and get them hooked on healthy food early on. Eating healthy food goes a long way to strengthen immune system. And it’s been well-established that physical activity and nutrition for health have lots of benefits to development. Teach your child to cook on their own, and they’ll do all this good stuff on their own.
Being a ‘lazy’ mom isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It can work for you, and it will give you precious time for other things. And it does work for the little ones to have a ‘lazy’ mom: They get to practice different life skills and learn to rely on and take care of themselves. It prevents them from turning into a horrible brat, and it teaches them resilience and self-reliance.
Article sourced with permission from theAsianparent Malaysia: