I’m often asked what we did with Dale that ”made him so motivated and actually get things done”.
Most of it had nothing to do with us “making him” but letting him.
It had more to do with not immediately filling his every want and then allowing and helping him figure out how to get what he wanted.
We also let him work along with us no matter what we were doing.
And this started EARLY. Dale was a busy baby. A sleepless wonder, I used to say. When you have a high energy, low sleep child with older, tired parents ..well, the way we handled it was we let him DO things. Lots of things. Anything he was capable of that would use up some of his energy instead of ours. He didn’t talk early but he could MOVE and follow directions.
“Can you find a diaper? Go pick out a book. Can you find some socks? “ And not too much later we let him help in whatever ways he could with anything we needed to do : cooking, cleaning, gardening, laundry, shopping, building something in the house or yard, fixing the car or dishwasher. packing for a trip. Even if it took a bit longer, or wasn’t done as well as if we’d done it ourselves, I think the payoff was enormous.
We let him do things with us when that is all a child really wants to do is imitate and be with mom and dad.
It was natural, not forced . We tried to relax and have fun so he would enjoy doing things. He got to feel the satisfaction of participating and making things happen.
Soon, he was not just working with us on our projects, but dreaming up and carrying out projects of his own.
Full disclosure, we did not have a computer until he was 6 or later and no tv until he was 10. So we didn’t have the option of him watching something while we worked. I guess this may have had an even bigger impact than I thought it would.
If we let them and encourage them, children like to help, create, and follow through on their curiosity and dreams.
Really, most people like that, don’t you?