Do you carry your child’s backpack for them when you pick them up from school?
It’s not your backpack.
It’s theirs and they need to be responsible to know that they need to bring it to school, keep it’s contents safe, and then remember to bring it home with them. If you carry it for them what message are you sending to them?
I’ll tell you. You’re telling them that when you’re around they don’t have to carry their backpack.
Today, you’re carrying their backpack because you want to be kind. They must have had a very hard day at school, and you want to show them how much you love them, so you take their backpack and carry it to the car for them.
Tomorrow, and then next day, and the next day, your child walks out of school and hands you their backpack to carry, with a look on their face that it was a very tough day and they totally would feel better if you helped them out and carried their backpack fully of crumpled papers and a bunch of toys.
Then next thing you now it, they’re heading out of school and expecting you to carry their backpack for you.
Or worse, they’re walking away and leaving their backpack expecting you find, it and get it for them.
The entitlement creeps in, but when it arrives, it’s hard to go back on.
You’re setting a bad precedent and creating unrealistic expectations. You’re not always going to be able or want to carry their backpacks – no matter how heavy it is or how tired they are or how hot it is outside.
Plus, kids don’t know where this kindness starts and where it ends. Carrying the backpack today, cleaning off the table after dinner tomorrow… Next thing you know, your child will be expecting you so do things for them all the time or when they don’t want to / feel like doing it.
Do yourself a huge favour and make your kids carry their own backpacks.
Additional tips for parents who have already started carrying their kids backpacks:
When they ask why won’t you carry it, tell them it’s their backpack. When you were their age you carried your own. Others kids carry their own.
When they threaten to leave it because they don’t want to carry it – they are testing you – you have to be prepared to walk away from it and leave it there.
Setting clear expectations while they’re young will go a long way towards developing into responsible young adults.