While I have seen charts saying children should reach this skill by such-and-such an age, or showing what chores kids should do in what grades, I think it's incredibly important to realize that each of our children are unique, and each will develop in slightly different ways and slightly different speeds. This is particularly true for children who have neurodevelopmental issues such as autism, physical disabilities such as club foot or those who were born prematurely. Because of this, my recommendation is to create a list of skills that you want your child to develop along each of these axes - heart, soul, mind and body - and for each of the values that you want your child to learn.
Last week we talked about how our values should be used as the basis for our parenting plan. How we need to figure out where we're trying to get to before we can create a plan for how to get there, just like we need a destination before we can plot a course of travel on a map. But once we have the destination how do we create the plan?
In an ideal world, we would be leaning into our values, with so much love and compassion and excitement and joy that our children would gladly follow us forward into these places and spaces.
It was years ago now when a friend who had adopted two little girls with FASD (Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder) told me about the 10:1 ratio. The idea was that for every one word of correction that we receive we need another ten words of praise and affirmation. That's because our brains are really good at filtering out and dismissing the good things we hear - and we're even better at remember the negative.
So last week, I asked the moms in my parenting class to bring all of their clean spoons when they came. I didn't tell them why, but I specifically said, "don't clean any spoons specially - just bring what you have".