Over the last couple of months I’ve slowly come to the realization that my little boy is not so little anymore. I suppose the first signs appeared towards the end of last school year, but I didn’t take notice until we visited the Eden Project and he did something he’d never done before. While Hubby and I were busy building a den the Boy announced that he was going to buy an ice cream cone. We watched as he crossed the courtyard to the ice cream cart. I remember Hubby and I wondering if the Boy would speak loudly enough that the ice cream seller would be able to hear him. Needless to say, we shouldn’t have worried because shortly the Boy returned with his ice cream cone in hand and a smile on his face.
While we were camping in Cornwall, I watched him be brave, outgoing, and independent – joining in kids club competitions run by the campground and even winning one. The Boy paddled in the Ocean and worked hard to successfully divert a stream. He picked out another proper chapter book to read from a local Oxfam shop and polished it off in a couple of days.
His independent streak has carried on. He’s taking on more responsibility at home – putting away dishes and silverware from the dishwasher – carrying his clean laundry upstairs and putting it away neatly in his drawers – tidying up his room. He’s also decided to become a vegetarian and proudly announced to his Nan and Grandad that he plans on being a vegetarian for the rest of his life. He’s concerned about global warming and protecting the Earth for future generations. His thoughts are big, clear and coherent.
Last week was his first week back at school and on the walk home from his first day he voiced his concerns that they hadn’t done very much work. To help him get back into the school routine we sat down as a family created a rewards chart with the following tasks:
- Brush my teeth – Morning
- Put away dishes in the dining room
- Feed my fish
- Read for 30 minutes
- Set the table for dinner
- Pack my school bag for tomorrow
- Put dirty clothes in my hamper
- Brush my teeth – Evening
We then set three levels of rewards. Earning 20 stars got him a trip to the sweets shop. Earning 35 stars got him a magazine, and earning 50 stars got him something he wanted very, very much, a Lego Darth Vader Minifigure. In the past when we’ve attempted to use a star chart to promote the formation of positive habits the Boy always lost interest after a day or two. This time was different. This time he earned all the stars required for the top prize. This week he was eager to set new tasks and goals. He seems very much older than his seven years. He’s not so little anymore and I don’t think I’d want him any other way.
Have your children asserted their independence lately? What did they do or say that made you realize they’re growing up? Do you remember a time when you watched them step outside of their comfort zone and flourish? I’d love to hear from you…