As moms we’ve all heard the “Mom can you please …?” fill in the blank with whatever tasks the kids think up. The list around here includes: get me a glass of water, find my book, rub my back, take me to my friend’s house, etc. As my kids have gotten older there are certain things that I think of before I decide on how to answer their request.
The questions I usually ask myself are:
- Is the task something I (mom) really need to do?
- Does the kid asking know how to do the task?
- Why is the child asking me to do the task?
- Is the kid asking capable of doing the task?
- Can I tell the child how to do the task and they could do it?
- Can I do the task with the kid?
- Can I show the child the task as a learning example?
I’m sure that some of them are familiar to most moms, plus a variety of other ones too. When I think about it I try to look for ways to use these times as teaching moments, especially tasks that they will need to know as a life skill.
Tasks They Know
If the kids are asking me to do a task or activity that they are too young to do or it involves using tools or equipment that they aren’t allowed to use yet then of course I’ll do it. Also things like being asked “please can I have a hug” or “could you please rub my back” I am happy to do. On the other hand, if they know how to do whatever it is they are asking me to do, I usually tell them that they know how to do it so they can and should do it. This is where the question of “why” is the child asking me to do the task comes into play. If they actually need help or some other situation stops them from being able to do it then I’m happy to address whatever the situation is or help them.
Tasks They Don’t Know
Now, when the kids don’t know how to do the task or I’m not sure if they do then I consider if I think they are capable of doing it. Does it involve tools, equipment or other situations I’m not comfortable with them using or doing? These are important things to keep in mind before taking any other steps. If they are not capable of doing the task themselves, can I show them with explanations so it is a learning experience. If they are capable are they ready to learn how to do the task? They may not be ready to learn how or it isn’t a situation to learn yet. So again I might show them how with explanations or have them help me do it. If they are ready to learn and capable of doing the task would they be able to do it with just explanations or do I need to show them how to do it? Sometimes it comes down to what my kids want. My daughter likes me to tell her how to do something, even writing notes at times. My son prefers me to show him and tell him the first time. The next time I talk him through the task and help if he needs it. After that he is usually pretty confident about doing it himself.
What about you, have you heard the “Mom can you” call? Do you use those moments as a time to teach your kids life skills? I’d love to hear how you handle this situation in the comments below.