My daughter is an only child. She is my singular focus, the center of my world, and there is little doubt that she is completely spoiled. Since I’ve spent years study family psychology, I’m fully aware of the dangers to her development that this presents. It’s entirely possible that she could take longer to develop independence and become overly reliant on me, even codependent. That is not the future I want for her. I’ve been intentional about making our home a place where she can do things herself. She has a fiery spirit and to nurture it, I set up system to make sure she can be independent safely. Let me show you what I mean.
My daughter use to ask for drink a billion times a day. It didn’t matter what I was in the middle of, I would hear the bellow “I’m thirsty!” and then the begging to get her a drink would start. This is how my mission to increase independence started. In true southern fashion, my daughters favorite beverage is sweet tea. I bought one of those 2 gallon party drink dispensers and it has become our sweet tea pitcher. It got used so much that I had to replace the spicket with a heavy duty metal version. She also has a dedicated spot for her favorite juice pouches that she can get to easily. We have been working on pouring, which I still closely monitor, so I have been buying milk by the half gallon so it’s easier to maneuver. The only thing I do keep out of her reach is her cups. Originally I tried making them more reachable but she would use every single one every single day. Now I get her out 1 cup and that’s the one I *try* to get her to use all day.
When I realized that I was going to go back to work, I knew that I needed to establish a system for meals. I started by setting up a breakfast and snacks bucket in the pantry. It has all her favorites in it so she can pull out what she wants and she doesn’t have to wait for one of us. I organized the fridge so that she is able to easily pack herself a healthy lunch. She moves down the assembly line and grabs one out of each bin. At the end she has a completely balanced meal and has packed her own lunch for the day.
Around 4, she gets the munchies and wants a snack. There is a special pantry category just for these snacks. It’s mix of healthy and not so healthy that she is able to grab and go outside without having to worry about fixing anything.
Getting Dressed in the Morning
From the time my girl could talk, she has wanted to do it herself. I’m a bit of a control freak though so letting go has not been easy. This is especially true for clothing. The cute mix matched outfits I can tolerate at home for short periods of time but I like her to look a little bit more together when we go out. Our happy medium is how I have organized her drawer. Jeans and shorts that go with everything are next to her T-shirt’s so anything out of the 2 of those boxes will match. She can just put one on out of each and go. For more complex outfits, I have the tops and bottoms matched and folded together on the far right and she know that she is supposed to wear those pieces together. This way I can ask her to go get dressed and she will actually *mostly* come back in something that goes together.
Put Your Shoes On
The door shoe organizer is not my stroke of genius but the great thing is that I rotate her shoes by what is appropriate to wear for the season. Bless that she is short like her mother so if she wants to wear her sparkling pink ugh with shorts then she has to climb for them and luckily 8 out of 10 times she doesn’t want to make that effort. I try to keep her shoes something that would go with everything ( aside from our frozen and Minnie Mouse jellies). Putting her shoes back wear they go is made into a big deal and show so that we don’t misplace them. Honestly she still does all the time so we will call that a work on progress.
Getting Ready for Bed
I keep Cori’s night drawer organized so she just follows the assembly line when getting ready for bed. She likes wearing socks to bed, I don’t get it, but she starts with them and works her way down the line. Truth be told, if you are around my home around 8 at night then you might find my daughter naked in the floor playing with toys. When she remembers, it’s a quick easy progress that she knows how to do by herself.
Territory Not Covered
You might have noticed that I didn’t cover fixing her hair. This isn’t something that will be happening anytime soon. We keep her hair long and beautiful. Brushing it and fixing it is our special time to slow down and be together. I know that might seem weird to some but I’m alright with that. Those 5 minutes might be the only time I can get her to be still all day so I’ll take it.
They Grow Up So Fast
While I am truly proud of how independent my daughter is becoming. I’m also a little sad that the years of needing me are rapidly ending. I know that before long these times will just be sweet memories as she moves forward in her life on to greater things. There is pride though in that from the very beginning I have taught her how to take care of herself, to solve her own problems, and to be independent. She is remarkable in so many ways . I hope she learns that I’m always here for her but that she shouldn’t be afraid to fly. She can do all things. I hope this helps you get your little one ready to broach independence and to be brave in the attempt. If you are interested in more of my organization ideas, check out my posts on my kitchen. For more independence ideas for kids, check out how to give them chores for their age.