Giving your kids an early start

Having my children 16 and 17 plus months apart from each other has been such a blessing in disguise, especially since my husband and I did not plan for this age gap between the 3 of them. One of the questions I always seem to get from people, whether it’s family, friends, my subscribers or random strangers I meet in a store when I’m out with the 3 of them alone is…”how do you do it?” Like many Moms, most of “how I do it” is instinctive but I’ve also learned so much by trial and error and I must add that I’m still learning every day and loving it.

Emelyn, Dylan & Maliya in May 2011

If you follow me on my You Tube channel, MommyTipsByCole, I have 90 videos to date on all types of tips and advice on things such as, “What to pack in your hospital bag”, “Top 10 breastfeeding Tips”, “Potty Training Tips & Tricks” and also a variety of other random vlogs, tags, family ootd (outfit of the day) and a segment close to my heart “Musical Mondays.” With so many videos, I keep trying to brainstorm other types of topics that would continue to help other moms out there. Which leads me to discuss my recent video  “Giving your kids an early start.” With my children so close in age, I’ve found that getting them started early on a basic daily routine of being responsible, independent, making choices and consistently learning has been such a help to me in the present and to them for their future.

Before I share my tips, let me remind you that I am not an expert by any means and I know there are more technically terms for things that I will mention. These are just some simple ways on how to incorporate this into a daily routine from my experience so far. To make it more personally, I thought I’d share specific stories on these topics :)

Responsibility (helpfulness):

I’m lucky to say that all 3 of my kids have shown a huge interest in being helpful with me and with each other. I must admit I am slightly obsessive compulsive when it comes to organization, so maybe this is also instinctive for them as well. Some of the ways that they show daily helpfulness are…

-cleaning up/putting toys away

                My eldest, Emelyn is pretty much the leader of the pack when it comes to initiating clean up time. Ever since she was little we were surprised how organized and detail oriented she was, she would go as far as to properly aligning the shoes by the front door on her own and always telling me to close my eyes while she would meticulously arrange her entire playroom…by the time she told me to look, everything was always in its place!

-throwing stuff in the trash

                Even before my son Dylan turned 1 yr old last October, he learned so much by observing his sisters. So it didn’t surprise me that he understood what it meant to throw something into the trash. In fact he loves throwing any little piece of garbage into the trash can so much, that he usually claps his hands after he does this!

 -sweeping/putting dishes in the sink

                My 2nd daughter Maliya had a slight obsession with sweeping the floor with a broom since she was very little. And now Dylan has developed a love for sweeping too just like his 2 sisters so much that he gets mad and cries when I put the broom away. As for dishes, I have gotten flashbacks with each of my children of when they all just started walking. I would be putting dishes away from the dishwasher and when I looked down,  there they were; Emelyn, Maliya and Dylan at 14 months old looking up at me with a clean spoon they grabbed out of the dishwasher to help put it away. Even until now, the girls know to put their dirty dishes into the sink after they are done eating without me telling them too. And as short as Dylan is for now, he attempts to reach up to the counter by the sink to put his empty sippy-cup of water for mommy to wash every morning without fail.

-laundry separating and folding

                Again, Emelyn is an expert in this department. Just the other day, I had a “flash forward” to her separating and folding laundry for her family just like mommy does. All 3 of my children are always by my side at some point when I’m switching loads, folding or putting away clothes. Emelyn has even surprised my husband with her amazing folding techniques. Sometimes I forget that she just turned 4 years old, I honestly don’t even remember being as organized as she is at her age! It makes me so proud and happy to know she can take these simple things with her for the rest of her life.

-assisting mommy with caring for the baby

                The kids love to help mommy, especially when I had my 2nd and 3rd babies. They love to get the diapers, wipes, toys, blankets or whatever baby’s needs were at the time. Not only does this teach them to help mommy but to help each other as siblings.

The big sisters caring for their new baby brother in October 2010

Independence:

-feeding/drinking/dressing/brushing teeth and hair

                Having them learn to do all of these basic things on their own as early as possible has been such a big help to me in more ways than one. For example when my 3rd was still a newborn, I could prepare the girls breakfast and put it on their picnic table to feed themselves, while I attended to the baby. And giving the 3 of them baths is a task in itself, but the girls are learning gradually how to shampoo their hair with the help of mommy for now. However when Dylan attempts to feed himself, it can be very messy and when he brushes his teeth he may not get every spot until mommy helps; but like everything in life it’s a process and they have to start somewhere.

Making choices (exercising judgment):

-picking books, movies, snacks, attire etc…

                I myself can be indecisive at times, but I love seeing my children know what they want and voice their opinions. Although they may fight at times with each other over who gets to choose the movie of the night, they love having the ability to choose for themselves. Even when it comes to bath time, the girls always lay out their pajamas and underwear before getting into the bath.

Consistent Learning:

Aside from the traditional ways of teaching my children their numbers, ABC’s, animal sounds and songs; I’ve found they learn it so much faster when we practice it daily doing the following…

-counting steps while going up the stairs

-singing the ABC’s and songs when taking baths

-making a game of animal sounds while changing diapers/clothes or brushing hair; I’ll always ask all 3 of them “what sound does the cow make?” This makes everything more relaxed and smoother for all of us and not to mention fun for them!

-writing/typing

                When Emelyn was a little over 3 years old, she showed a big interest in learning how to type her name on the computer and eventually write her name. I can’t take full credit for this since she learned this from her grandfather, my father. She would always type the password for him when using his computer, which lead to her typing her own name and then printing her name on paper. We were all overjoyed to see how quickly she picked up the recognition of letters just from typing daily with him.

My babies on Halloween 2011

The biggest benefit of giving my children an early start, is knowing that this will be instilled with them forever. <3 

What are some ways that you give your kids an early start? I’d love if you shared your thoughts and ideas with me!

~Cole

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