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If teaching your children how to be self-reliant earns you the ‘lazy mom’ tag, learn here how to embrace it, and become the perfect lazy mom!
“Clean that up first, love!”, Tanisha tells her daughter who has upturned her bowl of potato chips.
The little girl looks at the mess on the floor.
“That’s child labour! Come here, princess, the maid will come soon and clean it”, says her father, kissing his daughter on the forehead.
This is a common story in many households. A mother disciplines her child – like asking her child to clean up the mess the child has made – but gets quietly overruled by the father or grandparents.
Children in 2021 are playing mobile games, learning more than one language, doing online school, and excelling at the sport of their choice. They have more exposure to electronic gadgets, can write computer code and even create mobile apps! And yet, when a mother asks the same child to clean up, the child suddenly becomes a caterpillar, cocooning with her/ his father or grandparents.
As for the mothers who become strict disciplinarians in order to make their kids self-reliant, society sticks them with various tags. The most common one I have heard is “Lazy”!
So be it! Here’s how to embrace your ‘lazy’ tag and become the ‘Perfect Lazy Mom’.
Everyone knows the benefits of a clean house – low stress and fatigue, reduced allergies and asthma, improved safety, reduced spread of germs, etc. A clean and organised children’s room will not only make mothers happy but more importantly, eliminate the stress that’s caused by a chaotic environment.
It increases the productivity of the children and saves time in locating things. Their toys break less, they are less likely to miss important pieces, thereby saving you money. It also gives them a quick burst of physical energy and a sense of ownership, from organising their things (with little help from a parent, initially) and later, being well organised in all the things they do.
Involving children in tidying up is a very important part of their development.
A few minutes to put things away right after they are done using it has an amazing effect. There’s no mess in the room and when you need a particular item, it is easily available. Clutter is the enemy of creativity and in today’s brainpower age, creativity is a fundamental skill.
The time saved can now be spent in quality time with the kids, maybe reading books, going grocery shopping, or painting. Again it’s up to the parents what they want their children to grow up to be, messy teenagers or fine individuals.
To increase the understanding of a subject, to improve grades, and gain confidence, one must practice self-learning. The classroom study does not suffice the need of the current times; in fact, it is an outdated concept. Autodidact or being a self-learner is on the rise, with digitisation and the availability of many interesting and specialised courses on the Internet.
The self-taught child’s understanding of a subject is much deeper when compared to those learning under supervision. There are a few tried and tested ways to encourage children to learn and do their homework by themselves.
Parents can supervise homework for a specific pre-set time, and gradually monitor it weekly or fortnightly. Fostering the habit of reading is very important for language skills. Fill their space with books, set aside 20 – 30 minutes every day to read to the younger ones, and read with those who can read.
Children are inquisitive by nature and will want to know why they are learning what they are learning. You have to show them how the subjects they study can help in real life. For example, if your child loves basketball, you can tell them how maths can help in calculating speed, the distance they are away from the basket, and the angle in which they have to throw the ball to sink the basket.
And once they do start taking interest in maths, make sure you celebrate their efforts and motivate them to keep doing so!
Working together at home towards common goals helps kids connect with their families. Responsibility is a critical mindset that every child should learn from the early stages of their development. Participating in household chores teaches the children to value order, and care for what they own. Cleaning, being organised, and being responsible are life skills every child should learn. They learn to value and respect people they share their environment with. They also feel responsible for their actions. It also impacts their emotional intelligence and long-term success. There is a sense of camaraderie and accomplishment to be found in working together.
When children are motivated to help in household chores, like laundry or car washing, it fosters their helpful nature. Research shows that children encouraged to participate in household activities starting as young as 3 or 4 were more likely to succeed in their adulthood. Many parents spend a lot on toys or digital products and activities to enrich the lives of their children, but if they are not given any real responsibilities, they remain deprived of key components of adult competency.
In his book, The Hand: How Its Use Shapes the Brain, Language, and Human Culture, the author Frank R. Wilson emphasises that resourcefulness and self-definition arise from the use of our hands more than from the dictates of the educational system.
Next time you are preparing the morning breakfast, let your child apply butter to the toast, place cut vegetables on the bread for sandwiches, or set the table. They will be elated and a boring morning routine may turn into a fun party!
House rules are significant as they tell the children what is expected of them. A clear structure and vision can be established with simple house rules. You can sit with your family and decide mutually what the house rules are. Involving your children in this helps them in remembering and following the rules.
Children that follow rules at home, seldom break them outside. House rules regulate the behaviour of children in the outside world. For example, if you greet them every morning, they will greet the guests when they visit or when they are the guests. Greeting someone is one of the basic disciplines that many kids shy away from because they simply are distracted by everything else.
Another example is, if one of the house rule is to Clean Your Own Mess, they will never have toys lying around on the floor. And when they grow up they will have clean habits and a clean mindset.
The most important house rule to be established, one that will require a high amount of commitment is not using the mobile phone during fixed hours and talking to each other. You can simply put the phone aside during meal times when everyone is home. Talk about your day, the interesting things you have learned, about technology or books.
When there are hundreds of things to share on social media, the same hundred things (even memes for laughs) can be discussed with the family, right?
Your menu, the time of your meal, and digestion time have complex and established connections that regulate the metabolism of the body. What you eat is important. Equally important is when you eat. So having a fixed mealtime is vital.
During the morning, the body’s metabolism rate is highest. Hence, a healthy breakfast will help you get going till lunchtime, which ideally should be after 4-5 hours after breakfast. (Four to five hours between meals should be an ideal duration.) Breakfast should be consumed within an hour of waking up and similarly, dinner should be at least two hours before bedtime. Fruits, juices, or light snacks can be consumed in between these times, if necessary. At night, the liver starts its detoxification process, mostly when you are already in bed. When you take late dinners, you are affecting the most important liver function of detoxification. A light, early dinner is always suitable for waking up fresh and rejuvenated.
Being a mom, fixed meal times help me a lot. Apart from the health benefits, it fixes my cooking and other household chores, giving me time to practice my passion for writing crime thriller novels or non-fiction articles like this.
Let me remind you that this is the age of brainpower, your kids might have to read ten books for pleasure and twenty for their curriculum, watch all the learning videos and fun videos – so much to do in so little time! So, if us ‘Lazy Moms’ are making our kids independent and self-reliant, we are doing the best thing in this age where brainpower is much more necessary than the muscle-power.
The five habits mentioned above have helped me streamline the schedule of my everyday to-do list, helping me spend quality time with my children and family as well as with my work, without distraction. (Work-from-home moms will understand the feeling of working from home without distraction better.) Let me know in the comment sections your views about them!
Image credits Leung Cho Pan/Canva Pro
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Shanu Shah is the author of the bestseller The Victim and Retributioner. She likes writing
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