Every child is different, so is every parent. I learned this on day one. I have more than one kid, and I have been doing this for a while. But guess what? It never gets easier. My kids may look like near carbon copies of one another (I apparently make one type of kid, I swear they look like twins 4 years apart, minus the fact they are different genders) they are absolutely nothing alike. One is the easiest going kid you will ever meet. Is polite, outgoing, brave, ready to learn, and learns very quickly. Once is shy, a momma’s boy, takes his time to warm up to new places, situations, and people, and is smart but works more methodically. They couldn’t be more different. Its ok. It just make for a change in my parenting style with each kid. Any parent that tells you that one style works for every child, has never had more than one child. Everyone is different. I also have a very different relationship with each child. Which is ok too. My daughter is my partner. We work together, she learns alongside me as we play, work in the yard, cook, clean, workout, and read. My son needs a teacher, a mentor, someone who stands over him and guides him. It doesn’t mean he isn’t as smart, it doesn’t mean I think he needs more help. it is just the way in which he absorbs knowledge.
I taught Special Education for years before staying home to be with my own children. It helped me see that every child is different. I truly think it guided me to understand that I have no control over my kids. They are who they are. I am simply guiding them to be the best version of who they are.
When I work with them I play to their strengths and weaknesses. My daughter shadows me to learn. She has already begun clearing her own dinner from the table, making her bed, and helping to do the dishes and cook meals. She watches what we do, and she replicates it. We make sure to model things at her level. When she sees how easy it is to do something, she goes ahead and tries. By doing this with her we have shown her how to begin taking care of her own mess, and even make her own snacks. We have moved all of her food to the lowest level of cupboards and created a snack and utensil area at just her level. Now she does things for herself.
My son needs more one-on-one interaction. When we teach him a new skill we repeat it over and over. We make it a game. each step leads to the next. He even gets a sticker reward when he completes each task. This has helped him figure out how to dress himself and put away his toys.
Self-Sufficiency is a lesson that we teach everyday of our children’s lives. It doesn’t end at a specific stage. But if you find your child’s learning queues you can make it easier for everyone involved. Take a few days to watch and observe your kids. Do they need more help, less help, do they do things on their own, do they need extra motivation? No matter what type of learner they are you can help them. Just remember not to put to much pressure on yourself, being a parent is hard. But it can also be very rewarding. Especially when you can sit on the couch and watch your child get their own snack while you take a five minute break.