As a mother, it’s my role to love, nurture and educate my children. Part of that duty includes helping my children learn how to take care of themselves, and how to live respectfully with other people.Living respectfully with others, to me, includes taking care of your own things. Here are four tasks my children have done for themselves since they could walk. They might appear to obvious self-care skills, but even the obvious needs to be taught. The earlier a good habit can form, the better. The idea that everything has a place is not new. I’ve learned that teaching everyone in your home where that place is can be challenging, but so worth it in the end.
1) Dirty clothes in the hamper, pajamas on the bed: This is a task both of my kids are still always eager to do. Of course, this means they may be making free throws into the hamper with a dirty pair of socks, but at least they aren’t on the bathroom floor.
Every single night I have them walk their dirty clothes to the hamper. Sometimes it’s before bath, sometimes it’s after, but it’s always before they fall asleep.
In the morning, we assess the pajamas, and if they can be worn again, they go under their pillow.
2) Shoes go by the front door: The location will differ from house-to-house, but having a designated spot for shoes is a must. My son only ever has two pairs of shoes that fit him at a time. If he loses both pairs in the house, we’re in trouble.
3) Coats & outwear go in or near the front closet: In the winter, we have a basket on the floor next to the closet for gloves and hats. The coats can be hung over the door knob, or inside the closet door on hooks, but they need to be in the entryway. The kids know that this is the first thing they do whenever they come in from the outside.
4) Dirty dishes go in the sink: This will vary by age, but even a toddler can walk a dish or a utensil into the kitchen. The idea that they live in a home, not a restaurant, is an important idea to get across. This will lead to other meal preparation and clean up tasks, but it’s a good one.
What are other simple tasks you can empower the young ones in your life to do for themselves?