For today's "Tuesday Tip", I thought I'd share some thoughts that I first published on The Huffington Post on empowering our five kids to be more independent. With summer upon us, the mere notion of spending the next few months lugging beach towels, beach toys, water bottles, snacks, sunscreen, hats, swim shirts and so on made my (admittedly aging!) back started to ache. So, I decided that this will be the "summer of independence" -- the summer that the kids take on more so I can (in the most literal sense!) take on less. Here's how we plan to do it -- think of this as a three-part memo to the little people of the "Lyons Den."
- We've dabbled in the past in the genius of the National Parks "Carry In/Carry Out" policy. This summer, we are not dabbling; we are adopting and enforcing it. "Carry In/Carry Out" will apply to any item (think of all the aforementioned items plus baseball cards, Legos, dolls, books, etc.) transported to the minivan, backyard, front porch and all other locales. Should you "carry in" and neglect to "carry out", you will lose the object/s in question indefinitely and be subject to a fine. For real. And not just a penny -- this could be up to a quarter, my dear little people!
- You want it? You get it! This mom is a waitress no more! This ground-breaking rule will apply to glasses of water, apples and other approved snack items and beverages. Of note, it will not apply to cookies, chips and ice-cream; they will still require approval (and potentially assistance, since we don't want to lose a kid in the freezer!) and must be approved by management (a.k.a. Mom or Dad).
- You need it? You carry it. This just might change the subtle curvature in my spine that has resulted from not only carrying triplets, but carrying their associated stuff and siblings! This summer, if you need a beach towel, it will go in your backpack. If you need to return a library book, you can take it in your book bag. You get the idea. This is about you doing some of the heavy lifting so this mom literally has a lighter load.
With these tips in mind, I hope you have a lighter summer, in every sense of the word!