One Simple Way to Lighten the Load for Your Small Child

Maybe you find it strange.

That I would even think this way.

But I’m going to tell you anyway . . . with the hope that you somehow understand.

So are you ready?

I don’t like ordering for myself at a restaurant. Not if I can help it anyway.

You can ask my husband and he’ll tell you. He knows because I usually ask him to order for me.

And do you want to know why?

It’s not because I don’t have an opinion.

It’s not because I’m weak or don’t know my own mind. Or tastes. Or whatever.

It’s just because I find that I have to make decisions ALL DAY LONG. And it’s exhausting.

I have to decide what I’m going to wear. And I have to figure out what all we need to do today. I have to decide what goes on the grocery list and how many errands I can squeeze in between appointments.

Also, how I should respond to that one email, make that other phone call, and how I’m going to get everyone . . . to every place that they need to go. On time and, preferably, in one piece.

And what to make for dinner tonight (the worst!).

So you see? If I’m so lucky to have a dinner out with the Man-I-Love, then I want to be freed from making  one more decision.

To simply sit there and be served. It’s really nice.

Because you know something about making lots of decisions?

It’s a whole lot of hard work.

But I’ve noticed this recent trend in mothering where we’re encouraged to allow our young children to make all kinds of decisions. To give them choices and plenty of them.

Do you want the blue cup or the red cup?

Do you want grapes or bananas or cheese for lunch?

What do you want to wear today?

Do you want to play with this toy or that one? Watch this show or the other one?

Do you think you’re ready for bed yet? (Please…)

And so on and so forth.

So if I (a relatively mature grown-up) find it exhausting making so many decisions day after day? What do you think that does to our young children?

That’s a heavy weight for their small shoulders to carry.

And while I’m all for children learning to make decisions – as it’s truly an important life-skill – we need to be careful we’re not asking their little shoulders to bear the weight of so many decisions.

Rather than “empowering” our children (umm…is that what we’re really after, anyway?), I find that it leads to discontented or insecure children. And sometimes both.

So let’s lighten the load for these little ones.

Just hand them the blue cup and serve them grapes and cheese for lunch. Smile brightly and teach them to respond cheerfully in return, “Thank you, Mommy!”

Then, after you’ve read a short story or two, let them know it’s time for their nap. You don’t even need to ask if they’re tired or ready.

Why? Because you’re the mom.

And you wisely know what’s best for your young child and he or she can learn to trust you in this.

Then maybe . . . just maybe when your child wakes up well-rested, you can ask if the two of you should bake something special for dessert that night?

Because that’s an easy decision to make, don’t you think?

Now the only question is what to make…..? 😉

In His grace,

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