Tuesday, February 11, 2014

My Seven Year Old Loaded The Dishwasher

My seven year old loaded the dish washer. 
Mommy Tip: Thank your child when they help out. Let them know what a terrific helper they are. Then after they are out of the room adjust dishwasher as needed. 

Do you ever wonder why your kids might shut down when it comes time to helping out around the house?  Do you ever get frustrated over the tasks you impart to your children and they just don't seem to get it right?
What if their right, is just as it should be?  What if YOU are doing it all wrong?  What if there really was no right or wrong, but a matter of preference or understanding based on your own filters in life. 
I am really glad that I did not have to wait until my 5th child to understand this. For some reason I figured it out when I was six years old and kicked a brand new storm window in.  To this day I actually remember thinking, "but the grown up said it was the strongest window money could buy."  I tested that statement and kicked in the window. I will also never forgot all the grown-ups looking over the railing from the upper porch over the sound of the loud crash of glass breaking.  My mother freaking out for only a moment.  Really, she freaked for a moment and then asked me a question, "Elizabeth why did you just kick in our brand new window." I told her the reason and she understood.  That lesson took me well into my parenting.  My mom, was the mother of 5 kids and she may have been a very young mother, but she had this way of reaching into the understanding of a kid.

I asked Emerson, the 7 year old to put all the hot chocolate cups into the dishwasher. When he was finished she showed me how he had to arrange a few things to get them all lined up. He was quite proud of himself.
I thanked him and let  him know what  a terrific helper he is. I asked him, "Emerson, I like how you loaded the cups, what were you thinking?"  I genuinely saw that there was order in those cups.  He reminded me, "Mama you always say when there is hot chocolate in the cups to soak them in water. This way they all fill up with water, so the chocolate comes off."  Brilliant!!  Brilliant!!
For a seven year old this made perfect sense. I told him he was brilliant and lessons on learning to load a dishwasher were not going to come on the heals of him feeling like mama's little helper.  There will be the rest of his own little life to learn.
Often our reaction to the way our kids do things is what shuts them down. We can not begin to understand the though process if we don't ask. Simply reacting and being frustrated will not help a child, or even a grown up be excited about helping the next time around. How we encourage, how we respond and how we use our facial expressions is very important.
In closing, I want to encourage each person who reads this to really ponder how you are encouraging the steps of another?  How are you understanding their reasoning or filters on how things are done.  Then ask yourself how important your way really is. To this day I will not tell my  husband how to fold the bathroom towels. He does not fold them to fit into the closet correctly.  However he is folding and putting them away. I thank him, and then someday when I have extra time I just may refold and rearrange.  

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