It’s Your Child’s Home, Too!

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We want our children to learn how to be independent, right? Help them get a good start on that new-found independence by adding a few things around your home to make it more kid-friendly.

“Help, mommy! I can’t reach the sink!”

Something most moms hear on a daily basis. Your child is trying to brush his teeth, get a drink of water or anything else that he should be able to do on his  own but can’t because he is too small. Parents, it’s your job to help make sure that the little people in your life can reach all the things they need to help them grow into responsible, independent children.

Add a Stepstool

This little item should be the most common sort of tool you see in your house if you have small children. There should be one in several places of the house … or at least one that can easily be reached by you to put where your child needs it.

Having a stepstool in the bathroom allows your child to reach the sink in order to brush his teeeth. There is no need for you to stand there and fix his toothbrush for him. Allow him to get his toothbrush, put the toothpaste on it and wet it. This is where you can help teach him to use the right amount of toothpaste and to turn the water off while he’s actually brushing his teeth.

In the kitchen, a stepstool is most handy for your child to not only reach the sink, but to help prepare the meal as well. When you involve your child in the process of making a meal, he will be more excited to eat it since he helped to make it.

One place in the home you may not have thought to have a stepstool is in your child’s own bedroom. Sometimes those clothes hanging in the closet are just too high up. Your child should be able to help pick out his own clothes and dress himself. If the clothes are not where he can reach them, it will be hard for him to resist the urge to tug and pull on them until the article of clothing pops off the hanger … possibly resulting in damage to the clothing.

Having a stepstool around the house can help teach your child that they do not always have to call on Mom or Dad to get the littlest of things. However, you must teach him from the beginning that a stepstool is not a toy and should not be used to reach things he is not supposed to have.

Put Things in Reach

There are some items around the house that your child should be able to reach without a stepstool. Some of us have lots of cabinet space. So, why not make one a kid-friendly cabinet. This cabinet can be for all the utensils a child would need when it’s time to eat or have a snack. Inside this kid-friendly cabinet should be little plastic cups, plates, silverware, etc. So, when it’s time to eat, he can help set his place at the table. Or, whenever he decides he is thirsty, he can get a cup and reach the sink (via the stepstool previously mentioned) and get a drink of water. This little change in your home will help him feel more independent and helpful.

Another place in the home that you could add a little fixture to that allows things to be lower is in the closet. Some closet organizers actually allow you to hang clothing lower than the standard bar. This type of fixture can also eliminate the need of a stepstool in his room as the clothes will be at his reach.

Kitchen Gadgets for Kids

There are utensils that are made specifically with kids in mind. There are child-sized potato smashers, ladels, spatulas, etc. Having something for him to use to help make a meal also helps with his growing independence. Large ustensils are sometimes hard for them to hold and utilize. So, these smaller ones … that are sometimes even very colorful … are just the thing you need.

Put Healthy Snacks on the Counter

If your child is in a growth spurt, you are sure to hear him say he’s hungry … a lot! Keep him from asking for junk food or something sweet to eat by putting yummy, healthy snacks on the counter. So, when he gets hungry, he shouldn’t feel the need to come beg you for something to eat since you have already provided him a healthy option that’s easily reached. If you have chips and snack cookies in your home, keep them up in the pantry. Out of site, out of mind. At least, this is something you can hope for.

All of these things are just a start to help you help your child become a responsible and independent child … growing into an adult.

Kiera Ashford is associate editor of Nashville Parent and mother of three.

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