1. Stop folding their laundry.
Laundry is one of the most hated and most time-consuming tasks for many moms (and dads).
It is also a responsibility that kids of all ages can handle. Will a four-year-old fold her clothes as neatly as you will? Of course not. But who cares? She will learn.
Folding clothes is a skill that kids need to be taught. Teach them young. Give them a chance to practice. Let them know it’s their job to take care of their belongings, just as they are expected to do in school (and preschool)!
2. Stop making their lunches for them.
Your kids are more than capable of making their own lunches. Just as with the laundry, they will need help early on. They will need some stuff to be prepared for them. But a five-year-old can put things into a lunch box himself.
What? If your kid packs his lunch he’ll just pack it full of junk?
Stop buying the junk!
3. Stop rescuing and enabling them.
Do you know why you have to keep driving forgotten homework and instruments to school for your child? Because you keep driving forgotten homework and instruments to school for your child!
Don’t rescue them! Let them get a zero. Let them miss recess. Let them get a detention. They won’t fail out of school. They won’t be rejected from Harvard.
They also won’t forget their homework again.
4. Stop paying for their phone.
What? Stop paying for my kid’s phone???
YES! Parents spend a ridiculous amount of money on cell phones. Especially parents who can’t really afford to spend a ridiculous amount of money on cell phones. Let your kid pay for her phone.
She’s not old enough to get a job? Then why does she need to have a cell phone anyway? Because she needs to be able to contact her friends?
Then let her find a way to pay for her phone! If it means that much to her, she will find a way to make money! She can babysit. She can make a lemonade stand. She can do work around the house that you would hire other people to do.
If she wants to have unlimited calling and texting plans, she can pay for the upgrade. Don’t pay for games, don’t pay for apps, don’t pay for anything. Let your kids pay for those extras!
You will never help your child appreciate the value of a dollar if she doesn’t know how hard she has to work to pay for something.
Which brings me to number 5.
5. Stop replacing their lost belongings.
We have three kids on the swim team. If you have ever had a kid on the swim team, you know that goggles are really expensive and you know that your kid will lose an average of 37 pairs of them per season.
Unless they are responsible for paying for a new pair when they lose them.
You know how many pairs of goggles your kids will lose before they start really keeping track of them when they have to pay for them themselves?
And not only have you taught them the value of a dollar, you have also saved yourself lots and lots of mom rage. Because replacing the goggles is not your problem anymore.
6. Stop doing their school projects for them.
Because you have already passed first and second and third and fourth and fifth and twelfth grade.
Your kids’ teachers don’t want to see what you can do. They want to see what your kids can do.
And if your kids are concerned that their projects don’t look as good as their friends’ (parents’) projects, it’s a good opportunity for you to discuss taking pride in their work and paying attention to detail and how rewarding it is to know that you’ve worked hard on something yourself.
7. Stop making everything safe.
I’m not saying to throw your kids on a bike with out a helmet or to hold your two-year-old on your lap in the front seat of the car when you drive across country or to allow your son to run at full speed around the house with scissors.
But your kids need to be allowed to take risks. They need to climb trees. They need to be vulnerable. They need to see that if they try out for the school play and they don’t get a part they will be okay. They also need to see that on the other end of the spectrum, when you take a risk and are successful, that results in feelings of independence and self worth and accomplishement and pride.
It’s hard to experience those feelings when you are always in the safe zone.
8. Stop buying toys with batteries in them.
Toys that require batteries and make noise result in less and less human interaction between you and your child. (Plus, they are really f *cking annoying).
When electronic toys are used, parents say about 40 words per minute, on average, compared with 56 words per minute for traditional toys and 67 words per minute with books.
You know the best way to encourage language development and literacy and fluency with your kids?
Talk to them yourself.
Don’t let a toy do the talking for you.
Stick with the old school toys! (You’ll save money on batteries, too).
9. Stop allowing them to use electronics to occupy themselves everywhere you go.
(And this is in reference to neurotypical children)
Yes, it’s tempting to give your child an iPad or your iPhone so they will leave you the hell alone and you can just get through the grocery store as quickly as possible. But this is an extension of number 8. Your children need to learn to navigate boring or monotonous activities without constant stimulations. They need to interact with you and other human beings. They need to learn to say hello and make eye contact and to address and acknowledge other human beings.
And they need you to model this behavior for them.
Because the biggest disservice we can do to our children and our society is to allow them to mindlessly navigate the world and their surroundings without acknowledging the existence of other human beings.
10. Stop fixing everything.
I know. It sucks to see your kids upset and sad. But these emotions are a part of life. Allow your kids to be disappointed. Allow your kids to feel the uncomfortable feelings and learn how to deal with them without crumbling.
This is a valuable skill they will need to possess for the rest of their lives!
In the moment, some of these things can be pretty tough to do. It’s a lot easier to just give your kid the iPad to shut him the hell up and stop the whining!
But in the long run, when you stop doing these things for your kids, they will be more responsible, more independent, and more proactive, and your job as a parent will be a little bit (or maybe even a lot) easier.
Please keep voting!