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Spring Break: A Fresh Look . . . And New Chores?

We’re about to board our plane for spring break, and a thought just took over my brain: “Huh. This traveling thing is pretty easy these days with kids.” I’ve got two, kids that is. One boy (13) and one girl (10). Like anybody’s kids, they are the pride and joy of my life. Yet, now they’re actually helpful.

A light bulb went off today, boarding that plane, as I realized how easy this traveling thing (with kids) has become. I reminisced for a moment, looking back on the years of traveling with my pride and joys (those kids, that is.) I was one of those parents who exhausted herself (and anyone else traveling with me) with an over-flowing carry-on of the good ‘ole-fashioned non-electronic entertainment of books . . . activities . . . connect-the-dot books . . . Cheerios . . . to engage them with quality time throughout the never-ending hours in the airports, during layovers, and on the plane. I look now at the young(er) mothers schlepping through the airport, baby on the hip, stroller overloaded with a month-long load of “necessities,” and – ahhhhh – I remember those days. They were beautiful. In more ways than one. But now, well now . . . it’s easy.

Maybe you’ve experienced it too, with your (rapidly) growing brood. They pack their own suitcases (albeit with a guiding list from Mom (I mean really, we don’t want to forget anything), load up the car, ready their carry-on with their own entertainment and snacks, and by golly, lift those suitcase babies right up on the airline check-in scale, then retrieve them off the baggage conveyor belt, and collect them for the family in the newly arrived destination. Wow, I realize: These kids have actually lightened my load (and felt good about themselves in the meantime). (I mean, we all like to contribute, don’t we?)

You know, our kids can really do more than we think. Remember the day (I’m sure you had at least one of these during the preschool years) . . . when you observed your child in preschool doing things you didn’t realize they were capable of doing at home? Whether it was cleaning up, serving fellow preschoolers the snack, or simply securing (properly, now) their coat on the appropriate hook, we’ve watched our children (often under the supervision of others) do more than we’ve expected them to do right under our eyes.

I challenge you now, at whatever age your children, to stretch a little and find something new that your child (or each of your children) can do. A new chore, a new responsibility, a new way to care for themselves, or enhance their individual responsibility – for themselves – or for others. If you need a few “fresh,” out-of-our-own-household-box ideas, here are a few (according to the ages of our children). http://bit.ly/WQ9dJk

Enjoy those kids, for they’re growing up fast. And give ‘em some new chores. It’s good for them, and it’s good for you. And it’ll lighten that load in your suitcase.

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