As a parent, I know how difficult it is for a parent to let go and let their children do their own thing. They want to have fun, but as a parent, you want them to be safe, polite, and mostly clean.
However, children really need to have their own space if they are going to be successful in life. They need time to figure out what they like to do and what they don’t like to do. They also need to learn how to perform tasks for themselves.
Rules, of course, should be a part of every child’s life, but too many rules can limit their creativity and growth.
Here are 5 essential things all children should be allowed to do!
1. Eat By Themselves
This can be extremely difficult for those with young children. It is hard to sit by and see a child get 10% of their meal in their mouth and 90% on their clothes. I know what one may be thinking. What if they aren’t getting enough to eat?
Well, they are not going to starve, and allowing them to eat by themselves helps those to learn important motor skills they will need the rest of their lives. They will also have gained confidence from knowing they can use spoons and forks like a big kid.
2. Help with Chores
Although it may take longer than doing it alone, parents should let kids help with chores and other household tasks. When they are younger, this is another self-confidence thing. Little kids love to help, and if you get them started early, they will continue helping. As children get older, helping with chores allows them to learn responsibility and how to take care of themselves.
My five-year-old daughter loves to help me cook dinner and do the dishes. My son, who is eight, is right at that age where asking him to load the dishwasher is like asking him to pull out his right arm, but I stick with it because I know it’s important.
3. Express Their Creativity
Believe it or not, some parents do not allow their kids to draw or paint whatever they want. I actually fall into this category sometimes. Maybe I want my kids to draw in the lines of the coloring book, or I want them to use more colors when painting ceramics. I sometimes catch myself directing their creativity.
“Because it is a key to success in nearly everything we do, creativity is a key component of health and happiness and a core skill to practice with kids. Creativity is not limited to artistic and musical expression—it is also essential for science, math, and even social and emotional intelligence.”
4. Say What They Think
Children need to be able to say what they think about a certain situation. They need to feel like they can talk to parents freely without the fear of judgment or punishment. By learning how to express their feelings about certain situations, they will be able to grow up into better prepared adults with good communication skills.
“Kids who do not express themselves, and are instead people-pleases, grow up into unhappy adults who never really reach their unique potential. This is why it is so important that kids learn as early as possible that being they are what life is all about.”
5. Have Fun and Get Dirty
Kids need to have fun in order to learn. Much of what kids learn happens during playtime. This is when they explore the world around them, develop social and cognitive skills, and develop emotionally. Many children who are not allowed to play freely when they are younger will have a harder time adjusting when they are older.
“Without adequate, healthy play, children run the risk of entering school unprepared, growing into teens and adults without needed skills, and failing to meet their potential. Experts at the Institute for Play believe that healthy play in childhood can even prevent violence.”
This means they also need to get dirty. No more worrying about ruined clothes. (They grow out of them so fast anyway!)