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The 12 Days of Christmas Sanity: A Dozen Gifts to Give Yourself This Year

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4 of 12

The 12 Days of Christmas Sanity: Day 4

On the fourth day of Christmas,
I gave a gift to me:
Four helpful kids
Three best friends,
Two great big hugs,
And an evening out just for me.

Okay, be honest. How helpful are your children? I find that my kids are incredibly helpful, when I ask them to help. Many times, when partially-finished craft projects are left all over the kitchen table, or wet bath towels are thrown on the floor, I'm tempted to do the job myself, because it's faster. That doesn't do anything to teach my kids to pick up after themselves, though, or to be responsible for the things we own. It's harder to stop myself in my tracks and ask my kids to come take care of whatever it is that's been left out. It takes more time, energy, and patience. But it also helps to prevent it from happening again, and in the long run, that's where holding your kids accountable and expecting them to help out around the house is another way of being kind to yourself--because it puts less of that burden, day after day, on you.

Remember, too, that even very young children can start to be responsible for their own belongings. They can stack books on a low shelf, or toss their toys into a laundry basket for storage. And when it comes to older kids, teaching responsibility isn't just about making mom or dad's job easier. The ability to put things away, complete basic cleaning chores, and make meals are crucial life skills that our kids need to have before they leave home! Doing it all yourself because it's "easier" that way robs them of those vital life lessons.

So the next time you're tempted to do for your kids something they're perfectly capable of doing themselves, stop and either ask them to complete the job right then, or make a mental note of asking for their cooperation before they can go out to play or watch TV when they get home from school.

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