While I was preparing to take out the recycling bin to the garage, T chirpily asked to help.
It was overflowing in the pantry and I helped him pull the bin out; a mountain of plastic and boxes spilled onto the kitchen floor.
T insisted on carrying the box down the hallway, out the door and down the stairs into the garage. I guided him from behind.
We came back and I patiently watched him pick up the clutter from the kitchen floor and place them into the bin.
The hubby and I gave each other surprised looks. “T, this is amazing. You are doing such a great job!” I said with genuine praise. I could tell he felt proud.
I watched him with amusement. Has he gone stir crazy being home half the week?
Yes, he was home again for two days last week. A teacher tested positive for COVID. Thankfully, because T was not exposed to him the week prior when he was home with a cold, he got to back to school last Friday. And hopefully the teacher will be ok.
Back in the garage, T insisted on lifting the second filling of the recycling box over his shoulder to dump the contents into the larger bin.
After we returned inside, T washed his hands and the hubby and I gave him a big hug and showered him with praise.
Giving kids chores helps teach them discipline, life skills and how to work as a team.
One thing I’ve repeatedly read about kids with FASD, of which T has an at risk prognosis, is they often like to be helpful and can be hardworking.
These are qualities we want to build in T from a young age, because we want to maximize his chances to live independently without us one day.
I think that giving kids jobs around the house helps them build confidence.
When they have a sense of ownership over something, it can help them build their self esteem.
I shared this update with T’s child and youth worker, who has been working closely with him in the classroom.
She was delighted to hear this. She noted that T is often reserved and does not yet participate in group activities. She thinks it has to do with self confidence.
I can see where she is coming from. Although T is confident and outgoing at home, he was not around other kids for five months during lockdown and last year, he was in a class with only 4 kids. So this year is quite a change.
We are meeting with his child and youth worker this week to discuss strategies to help T come out of his shell. I know that he will if given the right supports.
So the hubby, T and I agreed that there are certain jobs in the home that are T’s to look after.
Emptying the recycling bin is one of them now.
This weekend, I asked T to help clean the table after meals, in particularly his own space by emptying waste in the organic bin and putting his dishes in the sink.
Before we pretend played this weekend, I asked T to tidy up the living room, which looked like a bomb had gone off and left debris of Hot Wheels scattered across the floor.
I stepped away for a few minutes to go to the bathroom and when I returned, T had tidied up the space quite nicely.
I was impressed and gave him a big hug.
Down the road, the hubby and I think about getting a part time job for T. We both started paper routes when we were 9 years old and it’s something we could see us doing with T.
This recent post from Love That Max about a mom advocating for a job placement for her 17-year-old son really resonated with me.
Kids, special needs or not, all want to feel valuable. Jobs at home, school or in the real world, help us all build confidence and worth.
We want to help T to see in himself how awesome and amazing his parents think he is.
Mind you, our living room looked like a disaster again an hour after T cleaned it up. But that’s ok. Childhood is meant to be messy, so long as T cleans up again afterwards!