One of my goals as a mother is to teach my children to gain independence.  Yes, it feels great to be needed, but I see it as part of my duty as a mother to pass on to my children life skills, so that they can grow into productive human beings.  I have found that often they take great pleasure in doing things for themselves, that in which formally mom could only do for them.

Why should children have to come to mom every single time they need something to drink or eat?  Why should mom always have to be the one to clear the table after meal times?  Why should mom be the only one to unload the dishwasher?

Is your home functional for everyone?

For a long time, it was nearly impossible for my children to do some of these things on their own because of how I had arranged our kitchen.  My children are both fairly young and have also inherited their mother’s stature.  For lack of a better term, I have a family of shrimp!  My husband is the only one tall enough to reach the high cabinets.  Needless to say, our kitchen was not functional for us at all.

When we finally remodeled our kitchen last winter, one particular aspect that was a priority to me was that we have as much of our everyday kitchen items as possible down low where the children could easily reach.  Instead of our dishes and drinking glasses in my upper cabinets, I opted for them to be stored in low pull out drawers.  My plates and bowls are stored in these racks from IKEA, and my hodge lodge glass/jar collection is stored in the bottom drawer under them.

Store drinking glasses and plates in lower drawers to make them accessible to children.

One simple solution to help children gain independence

This system has changed our kitchen tremendously and has simplified the day so much for me.

  • Now the children can easily set the table as I am finishing up dinner.
  • They can easily retrieve their own water during the day because they can just grab their drinking glass and get their own water from the spout in the fridge.
  • They can adequately unload the dishwasher.  Everything is within their reach.  There is no more excuse, “I can’t reach it!”  This is a huge help to me and keeps our kitchen running smoothly.

So that is my simple organization tip for today.  Take a look around your kitchen and the rest of your home and see where some simple rearranging could help your children gain more ownership of household tasks.  Here are a few ideas:

  • It could mean lowering hanging bars in closets so that they can hang up their own clothing.
  • It could mean putting a water container in your refrigerator with a spout on it so that they can easily pour their own water.
  • It could mean creating a snack bin where children get easily retrieve their own snack with your permission.
  • It could mean lowering where your dishes are stored like it was for me.

Sometimes it is the simple, that makes the biggest impact.