Okay so do you? You, that special needs mom or dad reading this right now, I need to know if you trust me just maybe a little bit? If you said only maybe 2% of me trust you Momma Oatmeal, then that’s good enough for what I’m about to say!
Give them chores to do around the house!
Let me guess your reaction right now: “What? How could you ask this of my sweet little child….with all these needs? Don’t they get a break from things that just aren’t that important? After all, they didn’t ask to be a special needs child!”
Okay, I know this right, because I also fall under the incredible guilt that comes with the thought of ever making their lives harder than it already is! But, here’s the deal and it’s a very real thing we, as special needs parents must eventually face about our kids just as every other parent must face about theirs….our kids WILL grow up one day and we have to help them prepare for the future to the best of their abilities!
Does this mean that little Johnny must cut the grass just like his big brother or that Sally will mop the floor every week? No, of course not but what it does mean, (at least for my superhero kid), Connor will feed and water his new dog, (you guys remember my birthday gift for the kids last week, right?) It also means that one night a week he will take the garbage from his small bathroom waste basket and dump it into the big kitchen garbage can, that one night a week he will wipe the kitchen table down after dinner, that one night a week he will wipe the doggie kisses off the glass door, and that one night a week he will clean his bathroom sink! Just one chore per day!
See, that one chore will help set off many things in his mind:
- I am a big kid now and I have to help out some around the house, plus I get a reward! (Hopefully this will teach him something about hard work and getting paid for it!)
- Mom and dad work hard to keep our home safe and nice for me and the tot! (He already picks up his own toys when he’s done playing with them!)
- I will get older one day and I need to know how to do these things for myself! (Ah, here’s the biggie and to me the most important because the more he learns now about being independent the better his chances are when the time comes!)
If none of this still gets you motivated then let Momma Oatmeal give you some sound advise…..the day I heard “but that’s what ‘bdults’ do, not kids!” …..yes, that’s how he pronounces ‘adults’ and yes my kiddo tried this argument with me not too long ago about doing a single chore…..so guess what? I got the old chore chart out and it’s worked wonders ever since!
Guys, I leave you with this thought on chores and our kids: Start small and even if they knock every crumb in the floor wiping that table down, let them because you can pick it up when they are not looking! Praise them for the attempt and you will be surprised at how much pride they will take the next time they do it! And, give them that chance because remember …….we should always shoot our expectations higher than what the world normally gives them credit for …….Let them learn…..even the stuff us “Bdults” have to do!!!