How Broad are Your Shoulders?
At three years old, kids have teeny, tiny shoulders that can only handle the responsibility of choosing the blue shirt or the yellow shirt. At five years old, their shoulders are a little broader and the child can be responsible to bring her homework sheet and sweater home from school (most of the time). At six years old, a child might be able to help Mom make her lunch, whereas, at nine she's able to make the whole lunch herself. By ten, kids can help with the laundry by folding towels and putting their clothes away.
At the start of middle school, washing their own gym clothes is not only appropriate, but preferred! (Stinky!) Of course, these are just examples and not indicative of all kids and all families. As kids get older, their shoulders broaden, allowing them to "shoulder" more and more responsibility until finally becoming an adult with shoulders broad enough to handle just about anything!
In this new school year, what new responsibilities can your kids handle?
Here are a few tips to ease the way:
1. Make it fun and not feel like a "chore".
2. Begin by doing things together.
3. If they seem overwhelmed, help them and know that job may have been too much. Then choose a smaller piece at a time for them.
4. Take notice anytime your child helps with something and let them know that their efforts are noticed and appreciated.
5. Don't worry if something seems too hard. Let them try and only step in if necessary. Struggle is a good thing!
This new school year is a big step in your child's development. Celebrate those big steps in your kids' lives and challenge them as they move forward to grow and take on even more!
It's Back to School Time and Time for New Responsibilities!
By Bette Levy Alkazian, LMFT, BCPC