Ever since my children were little, they have always done the groceries with me. They choose items that are on sale and always check the price of food. (After all, if you’re going to buy a pomegranate or Sumo orange for $3.50, you’d better enjoy it!) I want them to become responsible and grateful adults.
Before isolation, my children had the chance to do their own groceries on occasion. I was there too, of course, but they followed their own list. It’s a great way for them to work on their reading and their resourcefulness. Ever since, if my son can’t find a certain item, he is more than comfortable asking a store employee.
At home, it’s another story. We work very hard to teach them responsibility by assigning tasks for them to contribute to the household. But it takes a lot of effort to motivate them, given that they view these tasks as chores. Aside from cleaning their rooms and picking up their toys, their involvement is restricted to putting their dirty dishes in the dishwasher. It’s rather limited.
A new reality
Last week, I had to have a talk with them. As of now, I said, you have much more time on your hands than mom and dad (both my husband and I are working from home now, and our weeks are busier than usual!), so you will help us. The long-awaited moment, at last!
Having received their new directives, they were ready to contribute. My seven-year-old son does the laundry, while my 10-year-old daughter is in charge of dishes. With three meals a day every day at home, that requires loading and unloading the dishwasher quite a bit. They are capable and I have to learn to let go, accepting that this learning experience may mean them not doing it quite as well as mom or dad. And today at lunch, a surprise: They made grilled cheese and tomato sandwiches. I was so proud!
My first home-cooked meal
I’ve recently noticed that my oldest, who is more anxious, doesn’t have confidence in herself when cooking, even though I’ve been trying to get her involved in preparing recipes with me since she was three. Aside from scrambled eggs and avocado toast, she won’t attempt to make anything else without me by her side. Have I sheltered her a bit? Likely. But here’s an opportunity to spread her wings: Tomorrow, she’ll be cooking her first meal for the entire family!
Don’t give up, parents! It’s crazy at our place, too. The kids are watching too much YouTube and Netflix. But if they’re to become more independent in the coming weeks, I say go for it! More than ever, family is also a team!