i'm struggling with this (probably always have). my boys are 5.5 and very nearly 4. they are good helpers, or at least the older one is, but they also want my help with all kinds of things. the biggest one is dressing and getting outdoor stuff on (boots, coat, etc). their same-aged cousins also buckle and unbuckle themselves in the car, but both of mine insist they can't do that, which may or may not be true. the 4yo loves to brush his teeth (and i finish up for him to make sure), but the 5yo doesn't like to and wants me to do it for him. the 4yo always wants to be carried, and the 5yo wants to be carried from bed to downstairs in the morning. they want me to dry them off after their baths. and there are plenty of things that maybe they would do for themselves, but i find myself doing it because it just seems easier or faster, like cleaning up. oh, and they are always asking me to come with them when they want something from a different floor of the house, even though our house is small and really not scary. i usually say no to this, so they convince their brother to go with them.
a lot of this is happening in the morning when i need things to happen *now* so we can get out the door. the 4yo wakes up happy, but the 5yo does not seem rested in the morning and this is mostly when he wants me to do things for him (probably needs an earlier bedtime to get enough sleep, and an earlier waking time to not be rushed). they both also are probably asking for some of this to get more interaction with me, which is understandable, as they are in full time daycare and spend part of the weekend with their dad (7-8 hours). however, i came across that line, "don't do for your children what they are capable of doing for themselves," last night when flipping through "a quiet place" (collection of peggy's editorials) and i've been thinking about it since then, wondering how my boys can be more empowered to do things for themselves and how i can feel more comfortable saying no.
how do you handle this? i guess part of the reason i have a hard time saying no to these requests is that i don't fully understand the "why" of it. i do understand why it's important for them to learn to dress themselves or pick up their toys, but they do already know how to do those things.