This topic is near and dear to my heart, and it is something that I am extremely passionate about sharing with the world. I see a huge problem happening in almost every home I go into and around other people’s children. In the smallest ways, I see so many moms under-educating their children and over-stimulating them, breaking my heart. If any part of this speaks to you, you will want to keep reading.
I am going to give you step-by-step questions for you to be able to change this in your motherhood so you know without a shadow of a doubt that you are not going to be overstimulating or under-educating your kids. Regardless of how old your children are, you should be focused on educating instead of overstimulation. I know it’s hard, but I’ve got answers for you. So let’s get started!
Listen below for the entire episode on The Systemize Your Life Podcast
Are You Over Stimulating Your Children?
Let me be the first to say that I absolutely have had my own experiences from day to day, and I have my own seasons of overstimulating and under-educating my kids. What I want you to think about as you are reading this is whether or not you use stimulation regularly as a crutch and as a replacement for your number one job as a parent. Parenting, you are supposed to be teaching, you are shepherding, you are supposed to be raising and teaching them. You are not just babysitting; you are not just trying to throw them into anything you can to make them comfortable; you are supposed to be making them confident. There is a huge difference.
“Parenting, you are shepherding, you are to be raising and teaching them. You are not just babysitting; you are not just trying to throw them into anything you can to make them comfortable; you are supposed to be making them confident. “
We see it all the time: kids that are undereducated in life skills by far in every age group. Like 20-year-olds who don’t know how to call and schedule their own doctor appointments or do basic things for themselves. Or 4-year-olds who have never been asked to get their own dishes and set the table for themselves. Your 2-year-old should know how to grab a rag and clean up a spill on the floor. These are life skills that your children need.
Your Children Won’t Succeed Without High-Functioning Life Skills
I don’t care how fancy of a school your kids go to, what kind of activities you have them in, what kind of shiny life you show on the outside. If your kids don’t have high-functioning life skills, they are not going to succeed. it doesn’t matter how much money they make, and it doesn’t matter what you can pay for them to be in or not be in; if your kids have emotional intelligence and have the ability to cope and have life skills, they will succeed. So please, do whatever you think is best for your kid’s education, whatever that looks like, then pour into your motherhood the way that you were called to do from every other moment outside of school.
Here is what we often see: kids that can’t go out to dinner and sit and hold a conversation with other people or sit still at a dinner table without screens. We see children who cannot prep their own food or make their own lunches. They truly have no ability to take care of themselves, wash their own clothes, or do anything that is leading them from one level of understanding how to care for themselves emotionally, physically, spiritually, financially, year after year.
Who Is Going To Teach Your Children?
This is a problem because no one else is going to teach them that stuff. If you talk to any teacher, they will tell you that these children don’t know how to do anything. One of the biggest compliments we get about our kids on a regular basis is how well-behaved they are. A lot of that comes down to the fact that I am constantly bringing my children into my life instead of overstimulating them just because I don’t want to do the hard work that it is; it is very hard work.
There are days that I’m like, how many movies can we watch today, and how many snacks can I prepare for you and put on the table so you sit there and don’t move? There are always those days. But my approach to motherhood is always to over-educate and under-stimulate my children. That is my approach, and it surely should be a goal of yours to do the same. If your kids are going to school, they get so much stimulation. If they are older and they are approaching teen and adult years, they are getting as much stimulation from screens as we are in our lives, and they have to be taught to manage that.
You take that education and information and turn it right back over to them. How to meal prep, how to prioritize your time, and how to manage your fundamental needs. You are showing up here because you don’t know how to prioritize those things. These are things your children need to learn so they don’t end up like that, too. With all kindness in my heart, it is so important.
Why You Should Stop Over Stimulating Your Children
I will give you two reasons why it’s so important to change this in the trajectory of your motherhood right now. No matter how old your children are. Include your children in your actions because they are constantly learning. First, your children have no idea how to handle life on their own without you. You are the go-to source. Every time you put them off with stimulation, you miss the opportunity to teach them an incredible and valuable life skill they could be learning in incremental steps instead of having to go out and do the hard work of learning by being thrown into the fire when they are older.
Second, you are always going to be ten, fifteen, twenty steps ahead of your children. You are always going to have gone down that road before them, and most of the time, your children are like yourself or like your spouse or a mix of the two. You have some insight into what they might be going through. They were given to you to learn. So teach. Teach them. Educate your children about what you are going through and about what they are going through.
How To Make the Switch From Over-Stimulating to Educating
It doesn’t matter where you are in any phase of life with your child; they just need to learn from you. I really challenge you to think, am I letting my children learn from me? They don’t need to be in all the things; they will thank you for it later. The weekends don’t need to be full of activities and everything. At the end of the day, if everything was ripped away, you want your kids to have true value in what they have learned from you and not just experiences 24/7. You are allowed to teach your kids about boring, mundane, day-to-day things.
Step 1 to Stop Over-Stimulating Your Children
List out the top 3 things you did with your kids today, meaning you were both in the same space together doing something. An example of this would be: did you drive them to school? Have you text back and forth? Did you play cards with them? Have you gone to the grocery store? Did you have a meal at the table? Did you clean up a bedroom? What did you do together?
Step 2 to Stop Over-Stimulating Your Children
Then ask yourself how many times you included them in something you were doing together, or did you try to find something else for them to do?
For your older kids, they probably don’t want to be involved and are so much further removed from you, we will flip this. When you saw your kids didn’t want to be included, did you ask them to do this thing with you? Did you include them when they were trying to go and do something else?
If the answer to those questions is no, move forward to the next question.
Step 3 to Stop Over-Stimulating Your Children
Why? Why didn’t you ask your kids to help you set the table, clean out the car, go check the mail, go for a walk? These are really indicative of what the problem is with your perspective and why you are constantly having your kids be stimulated so you don’t have to do the hard work of including them. From here, I want you to look at how you can involve your kids and teach them in ways that are age-appropriate.
If you have multiple kids, then you figure out how to do it with multiple kids, or if you are in a spot where you just can’t do it, then pick a kid and work with one kid each day. Start small if that is where you need to start. The goal here is to stop over-stimulating your kids and start educating them. You want to start engaging your kids in what you are doing so they can learn all of these valuable life skills that you think you have their whole life to teach them.
Stop now and ask yourself how old are your children and how much you have actually been teaching them intentionally. How many times a day are you reaching out to your kids to involve your kids to teach them something? That is the kicker here. It always feels like we have more time than we actually have. If you could bring a little of this intentionality into what you do, it would be a game changer.
Step 4 to Stop Over-Stimulating Your Children
Here is how you do it. Now that you have gone through those questions write out three specific home duties that you have and know you will take care of. Then, write down three ways you can include your kids in those activities. Say you need to make a phone call to make a dentist appointment. You can ask your teenager to call and make the appointment for themselves. Then you are going to explain when they say they don’t want to, that these are valuable skills that they need to have, and you will sit with them to help them. You will see them learn about 500 things they never knew.
Another example is, are you going to cook? You can have your 4 year old come over and help chop vegetables. They will learn how to hold a knife safely and how to chop, and you will be able to answer all their questions and teach them all about the food they are chopping. When all your kids come home from school, instead of you doing the backpacking routine, have them do it. Teach them how to wash out their own lunch box and water bottles. That is teaching them how to unpack and get prepared for the next day and not procrastinating. Then, when you start teaching your children how to do these things on their own, it is taking a lot of work off your plate and outsourcing.
Don’t Be Afraid to Educate Your Children
Don’t be afraid of this process. Don’t be intimidated by the pushback. Be excited! Include your kids. If your kids are way older, then talk to them about stuff. If you had struggles with things that popped up, like an interaction at a store you went to, and your card wasn’t working, you had to call the bank and talk to them about that so they know how to handle it when they have that situation—they want to learn and need to learn from you.
I would love to know the things you have lined up and how you are going to involve your kids in them. So pop on over inside of the Facebook group and show me what you came up with! You can also come check out The Systemize Your Life Academy and learn all the things.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do I purposly find time to spend with my children?
First, I want you to realize that you need to be intentional with your time. If you haven’t discovered my Fundamental Needs (yes…there is a free workbook!) start there. Make sure that you prioritize your time with your children and your family within your fundamental needs.