Mighty Life List
Apr 30 2009

Momversation: Teaching Kids Independence

We’ve decided we’ll let him watch TV with a bowl of candy until he’s ten, and then just send him to military school.

16 Responses to “Momversation: Teaching Kids Independence”

  • greta Says:

    Wait, so what DO you do about the stinky 2 year old teeth? Can we go back to that part? We are struggling with the same thing. We have been known to pin our 2yo down occasionally out of desperation, but what do you do? Do you just let them go without a good brushing now and then? Do you try to pretend that the gnawing they do when you hand them the brush is good enough?

  • Bonnie B. Says:

    A 2 year old is an ENTIRELY different animal from a 4 or 5 year old. Sometimes yes, you just have to pin them down and do it for them, if they won’t do it themselves. But as they gradually get older, you won’t have to. Once my youngest daughter started to complain about how I brushed her teeth (or her hair) I gave her the brush and said “Then you do it!” and left the room. She took it from there and I haven’t done it since. But every kid is different. Just always lead with the expectation that they’re going to do it themselves, and eventually they will.

  • Maggeh Says:

    We let him go at it for a few minutes, then we say it’s our turn, then he screams, then we have a time out, rinse repeat until he lets us help. It’s time consuming. Pinning him down would be a lot quicker.

  • greta Says:

    Well, I’m really glad that I’m not the only one who hasn’t worked out a really good solution. We try taking turns too, but the screaming! Oh, the screaming. However, the screaming does work to your advantage if you do decide to pin him down – his mouth is already open!

  • Stephanie Says:

    Oh WOW. Our baby is barely a month old. I tooootally did not need to start thinking about all of this so soon!

  • misstraceynolan Says:

    Jumping in with the non-mom perspective on this momversation: Maggie, your Spring make up palette is fresh and lovely. Thumbs up!

  • Abigail Says:

    Maggie, please tell me where I can get that necklace. It’s like jelly beans!

  • Maureen Says:

    My son’s dentist says the parents should brush the kid’s teeth until they’re in grade three because of lack of fine motor coordination. So we also did the “You start, we’ll finish” thing. It also helped that the dentist told our son this directly.

  • Maggeh Says:

    Hi Abigail, I got it in Italy. In fact, those necklaces (in several different colors) were my bridesmaid gifts.

  • Vanessa Says:

    I’m the same way when it comes to my son’s teeth brushing skills. If I left my son to his own devices he would just suck the toothpaste right off the brush. So I told him that I need to start or finish the job. He gets to choose which one it’s going to be. He’s getting better now! I think it’s just because he’s really adamant in doing it himself.

  • sabrina Says:

    Ukh. Please brush your child’s teeth even if he yells and screams. You know why? I’ll tell you why. I don’t have kids but my cousins went on that trip with their 2yo boy where they wanted to show him things and let him do stuff on his own. He was their second baby, and with the fist one they did everyone for her, so maybe they were trying to mend their ways, but HIS TEETH TURNED GRAY. It was so nasty. And he is soooooo cute but when he laughed I’d be all, “Eww, don’t smile because you’re cuter when I can’t see your gray teeth.” Now let me tell you why having gray teeth is worse than having black teeth or yellow teeth —
    BECAUSE IT JUST IT.
    Dirty people have black teeth. People who don’t care have yellow teeth. But people who could be diseased or have the beginnings of bottle rot and coming in with the grays.
    Don’t get me wrong, I’m huge on childhood independence. My parents had a rule in our house where my sister and I had to make our beds every single morning before we even came downstairs — and I was like 5. But I just think there are times when you have to let that motherly instinct kick in and say, “No child of mine will ever have gray teeth.”

    Oh, btw, one of my best girlfriends just gifted me your book — it was one of those just-because gifts and I started flipping through it last night:)

  • Jess Says:

    A comment on the allowance issue:
    When I was growing up my parents gave each of us a weekly allowance from our 4th b-day until our 14th (when we could get real jobs). The rules were that 10% had to be given away (as an animal lover I usually gave my to the humane society), 20% saved for college, 20% saved for a short-term goal (new toy, etc.), and the rest could be spent on immediate gratification. It was not connected to chores because my dad believed that if you are part of a family you contribute to the family work and are provided for from the family funds. This system not only taught me kick ass math skills, but I also learned to handle money wisely and be generous. I will surely do the same for my son when he is old enough.

  • G'licious Says:

    I’m sorry, I have to say if I see Dana from Mamalogues on these, I won’t even watch. What is she always so angry about? She’s got a real chip on her shoulder and I don’t need parenting advice from her. I wish Momversation had more diversity of people in their “versations.”

  • Jane Says:

    Could be a good topic but the earrings are distracting me too much.

  • amy Says:

    Wow… feeling a bit neglectful at this moment! Yes, my kids (twin girls 11 and son, 16, are very independent with homework, dressing, telling me when they need haircuts (usually after I have suggested it a few times) and in general being very independent and responsible for their ages (yay me!). One problem I do have is that the only chores they have are MINIMAL.

    Their teachers rave to me how responsible they all are, how far they go, how they give their all! At home? Not so much. Son unloads the dishwasher 1x a day and girls are responsible for either setting or clearing the dinner table. All responsible for keeping their rooms clean (rarely) and putting their clean clothes away.

    When I think of all the housework I DO that they could be helping me with I am to be honest rather sickened. I was never taught how to do laundry, cook, clean a bathroom or ANY room other than my own (weekly). And you know what? I regret I was not taught earlier.

    An eye opener, thank you. The kids helping out more at home will BENEFIT them in the future, and me now! ;) But really. When I left home at 19 I knew how to do next to nothing as far as living skills went. Not sure I want to do that to my kids. (Although the girls do enjoy helping me prepare dinner, bonus! I moved out not knowing how to boil an egg!)

    We can all apparently encourage and assist when it comes to independence for our children.

  • amy Says:

    Just rereading comments and I insisted on ‘helping’ with the teeth brushing till I could see they had it somewhat mastered. I think the most important thing is to be there morning and night supervising, making it somewhat fun and guiding when needed. Child is young? Suggest and have parent do a quick brush when child is done. Keep it fun, lighthearted and usually ok..