Dear Mama Re,
My four year old won’t leave me alone. He is constantly at my elbow wanting to help. Everywhere I go and everything I do he is always right there looking eager and saying, “ Can I do it?!” Yesterday I actually tripped over him as I was unloading groceries because he was beside me ‘helping’ me lift the bags and I didn’t see him. Now I have a twisted ankle. Yes, it is sweet, I know, but it is driving me a little crazy and I just want to put him in front of the TV and get stuff done all by myself. Would that be so wrong? What should I do?
Too much help

Dear TMH,
Parenting an inquisitive, eager child is a lot of work but it pays huge dividends.
A rather large longitudinal study noted that one of the best predictors of future success in children was the degree of industry in childhood. When you were young did you like building things, creating, planning, and participating in activities like carrying in groceries? Did you always want to be with Dad in the garage hammering something? In the study I mentioned, 450 men were observed for over 35 years and it was discovered that the best predictor of success was not IQ nor family of origin issues but rather the amount of industry as a child.

Next time your little one wants to help in the kitchen, or in the garage…and you send them off to watch TV or work on the computer to get them out of your hair, think about this study.

There are so many children now who will need to be encouraged to become active and industrious because they have been ‘trained’ to just sit and watch the world through media. They have lost that eager spirit. Don’t worry, they can get it back. Here are a few suggestions. Turn the computer and the television off. (This is harder for us parents than it is for our children). Give them regular chores. Have family workdays where you learn to have fun together while you are developing new skills and doing things that benefit your home. Let your children see a positive attitude in you as you go about your daily work.

Yes, I said the word work in this letter more than once. It is a great deal of work to raise an industrious child. It is even exhausting when they are young. But God gave children to young people for a reason. You have the energy to do it. So, decide now to make the extra effort to raise an industrious child.
You won’t be sorry, I promise.

Yours truly,
Mama Re

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