As military families, many of us have been in homes that we wouldn’t have chosen for ourselves. These homes may be way too small, poorly laid out, or just not very functional for a growing family. There are ways to make your home work for the whole family regardless of location or layout. The ultimate goal of any home is to create an environment so you can raise independent kids. Every home is capable of this, but it does take a little creativity.
Many of us are in the “heat of it,” raising a few—or a slew—of young kids under the age of reason. The best thing we can do for ourselves as highly in-demand mothers is to stage our homes in a way that encourages our children to be more independent. Aiding our children in every tiny task when they are perfectly capable is hurting us more than anyone else. Here are some ways we can set up each home to raise independent kids.
4 Ways to Stage Your Home to Help Raise Independent Kids
Stage Your Kitchen
Putting small plates, bowls, and child silverware on the lowest available overhead shelf will help everyone immensely. Many young children want to feel helpful in the kitchen. They also enjoy the idea of helping themselves to make lunch by gathering their essentials on their own. Around the age of 4, your child should be able to use a step stool or other device to reach their own plate and make themselves a sandwich. Yes, this sounds scary, but they are capable of doing this with a little guided practice.
The same rings true for plastic cups, cloth napkins, etc. Imagine being able to host a playdate where your preschooler can set the table for the snack they chose for their friends. The amount of confidence they would have could spark a chain of events that can only benefit your whole family.
Tools for Independent Success
The Learning Tower. For a very long time, this was the one thing we had purchased at full price for our first toddler. Though they are rather bulky and can take up a great deal of space, the Learning Towers are amazing tools for toddlers to learn independent habits. With the learning tower they can reach the countertop, aid in the kitchen, wash their hands unaccompanied, and the list goes on. This is the first step towards raising independent kids and it can begin with any walking toddler.
Stools. A generic step stool is probably already present in your life whether it be for children to reach the sink, or for some short girl problems. Multiple step stools are necessary in order to raise independent kids. You need one in your child’s bathroom to reach the sink and so they can get on the toilet by themselves. You need another stool in the kitchen or the learning tower, so your children can reach the sink, successfully get their own dishes, and make their own snack.
Make Things Accessible
Making your children’s clothing easily accessible to them is crucial for your morning and evening routines. Those two times are so incredibly stressful already! Make things easier on yourself and put your child’s clothing in some sort of easily accessible storage within their room. If they can get the drawers open by themselves, they can retrieve their clothes for the day, they can retrieve their pajamas for the night time, and they can put their own laundry away. Best thing ever!
Set them Up for Success
A lot of childhood independence comes from a well-staged home. Yes, there are tools you can have in place to make your child more successful, but a lot of their success will come from habits that you teach and the opportunities you present. For example: unless my washing machine is running, it is left open so they can throw their dirty clothes in the washing machine.
Toy storage is primarily in open bins. Therefore, there are no clasps, heavy totes, etc to navigate. They can simply pick it up and put it away. Everything has a place, that place is taught and then they can independently help themselves to things and put said things back when they are finished.
With enough consistency, you and your children will learn what works best for your family and where those cognitive boundaries are for your child’s capabilities. When you begin doubting whether or not they will ever “get it,” just know that they are more capable than they appear, but must be shown they can do it as well.
WANT TO READ MORE?
Check out How to Stage Your Home to Rent or Sell When You Have Kids
Photo Credit: Marissa McDonald, Unsplash