Stress less at home by putting your kids in charge

One child development specialist says kids often want more responsibility, if their parents will let them

Putting the kids in charge may sound crazy. But letting them be the boss actually teaches confidence, and it might help out your busy life.

Claire Lerner, a child development specialist in Washington, D.C., told National Geographic that kids often want more responsibility, if their parents will let them. Lerner says there is a balance between supporting and enabling, but when you find it, kids can learn valuable life lessons and you can take some of the work off your plate.

If you let your child set the table for dinner or help clear the plates, that means the whole family may have time for fun activities together. By assigning tasks, such as walking the dog, washing the dishes or cleaning the bathroom, it teaches kids the world is bigger than they are. And if something goes wrong, say a dish breaks, the mistake can be a powerful learning lesson. Lerner says life isn’t perfect and it is best for your kids to learn how to own their mistakes and find solutions.

Now, Lerner says it is important the task isn’t too difficult for your child to accomplish, because you don’t want to set them up for failure. Let’s say making a salad is too much for your child. Break it down into smaller tasks, and put them in charge of those; that way they are learning without feeling overwhelmed.

There are plenty of ideas to give your child more responsibility. You can find kid-friendly recipes and have them plan and cook a meal once a week. You can let them find trails to go on a nature walk and pick the way the family goes. A child can plant and maintain a garden and choose the vegetables they like to eat. And you can even make one of your kids the family historian, who journals all of the activities your family does while spending time during the pandemic.

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