Watch kids shine.

For the first time in over a week and a half, I put on make-up and did my hair. I’ve been sick. That’s a huge understatement. I’ve had fever, chills, shortness of breath, and haven’t been able to get out of bed. Today was different. My body must be healing because I felt like I could get out of bed. Never mind the weight I’ve lost and that I’m still not eating solid food. Then my husband became just as sick.

Remember a time you were that sick?

Guess how the kids responded?

They showed up and handled simple meals and took care of the home while both parents were sick. They said, “stay in bed.”

A Fine Parent says that overparenting is not a good thing for kids. There are times when parents need to step back so kids can figure things out for themselves. Helicopter parenting has its fans, but time and again, I’ve watched my kids excel when we step back as parents. We watch them thrive when they learn, discover, and try new things.

While we are sick, they once again excel.

They’re Always Watching

Just like Siri and Alexa always listen, kids listen too, and they observe. They know what needs to be done. They know that pets need to be let outside to do their business and be watered and fed. These are simple tasks. They know where the mailbox is, where to find the key, and that the mailbox is at the corner. They know the household’s basic routine and respect a modicum of patterned behavior, even if they act like they don’t like it. It’s fun to mix things up on occasion, but kids like routine too.

They Can Do More

Kids can do more than we give them credit for doing. The kids worked together to make breakfast in bed for mom and dad. A sweet tapping on the bedroom door brought this delivery.

Pic by author

The kids worked together to make breakfast. That’s a massive win for discovery, calculated risk, and teamwork. They set water to boil, ground the coffee, and scrambled eggs.

Those eggs were delicious too. The oldest sliced some onions, cut spinach, and added a touch of salt and pepper. The youngest scrambled the eggs. Between the two of them, they even cut the tops off of the strawberries.

How can you give your kids a chance to do more?

They Do Things Differently

Relax. Take a deep breath. Nothing will be done the way you do it, and that’s okay. They have an idea of how to do things, but maybe not the full logistical plan. The oldest burned the butter in the bottom of the skillet. I’ll happily scrub it later. She took the initiative and beamed from her efforts. She said, “I’ve got this.” It may not be healthy, but I can cook basic things, make sandwiches, and load the dishwasher.

How can you let kids do things their own way?

They Do More Than Expected

Often, when kids have the ability to act independently, they do more than you expect. The kids read books, entertained themselves, and learned something, all because they wanted to do something good.

Sure, they watched more Netflix than they would on a given day, but they weren’t arguing. They were decent human beings to each other. And, they did some light housework too. One used the Swiffer on the floor, and the other folded laundry. They even set out to learn something. One practiced Geometry, while the other practiced addition and subtraction.

How can you let kids act independently?

They Need Guidance

Kids need a framework to work within, but they don’t need someone standing over them all the time. They need to know that it’s okay to mess things up without consequences. When they know they are loved and secure, they are motivated to act. When they see a job to do, they do it without question. In short, they are empowered to take action.

How can you let kids make decisions more often?

They Show Capabilities

Kids can do more than we give them credit for being able to do. They shine when they are allowed to do more. The house may be messier, the kitchen less clean, but the house won’t burn down as long as they remember to turn off the stove burners. Kids are capable. Remember to let go on occasion so that your kids can show up in significant ways. You’ve shown them how to act. Please step back and watch them shine.