February 21st, 2014 - Category: Teaching Kids to Work
Some kids are just natural born leaders. You may think that your kid isn’t one of them. But all kids have leadership potential. And as parents, we can help develop and enhance those skills that will not only set them up to be leaders, but will also benefit the rest of their lives.
Just pushing someone toward the role of leader doesn’t mean that they will be a good or effective leader. In fact, the title of leader itself means nothing unless that person has earned it, they have the respect of those around them, and they have the self confidence to do it.
You can start by teaching your child that being a leader means that they are in charge of what happens to them instead of being captive to what someone else says will happen to them. Following the crowd can leave them open to all kinds of outside influences and affect their choices if they can’t stand up for themselves.
You can also help them develop good communication skills. Give your child opportunities to speak, listen, and read. Interacting with others will help develop their understanding of the world and help them develop empathy towards others.
You can encourage their independence. A 5 year old probably can’t cook eggs for breakfast, but they can pour their own cereal. Let them grown in your home, where there are safe limits. Let them play independently and let their imagination grow. And if they tell you they can do something, let them do it.
Teamwork may seem like a skill that contradicts independence, but they need to realize that a team can get more accomplished than a single person. The family is a great place to model this principle.
Instill confidence in them. Praise them often. Remember that what may seem insignificant to you, may mean the world to them. Help their self esteem grow by letting them do harder things. Even if it isn’t done perfect, praise them for their effort (and resist the urge to fix it).
Support organization, planning, and strategizing. Illustrate yourself how to manage time. Guide them when it comes to goals and help them break down larger tasks into smaller pieces that can be accomplished quicker. Check lists, in written and picture form, are great ways to help with this.
Most kids know how to manipulate their parents to get what they want, but superior forms of conflict resolution, like negotiating and compromising are great leadership skills to possess. Teach your kids how to bend. If they can learn to give as well as take, then everyone wins.
And last but not least, problems happen. Life isn’t always fair. Persistence and determination even when things don’t work out is an essential leadership skill. Solving problems without getting frustrated is a great skill that will help them in all aspects of their life.
July 30th, 2013 - Category: Teaching Kids to Work
Whether it’s the hall closet that needs organized or the exercise routine you’d like to start, sometimes we all need a little motivation.
It’s happened to all of us. Somewhere along the way of getting our goals accomplished we get tired, or distracted, or busy with other things.
It’s not that we lack the desire, just the motivation. What you need are some motivation tools to pull you through the tough spots. Try some of these suggestions on for starters.
Give yourself a pep-talk. Five year old soccer coaches (among others) have learned that to get something out of a team of difficult kids, sometimes it helps to yell encouraging remarks. Try it with yourself. O.K. maybe not yell, but try crowding out any negative thoughts by pumping yourself up with happy, supportive self-talk along the way.
Write down your goals. Before you get overwhelmed with what you’ve gotten yourself into, write down your end goal and then share it with a friend. They’ll help hold you accountable.
Use a visual reminder. Take a before picture of what you’d like to change and post it by your written goals. Look back often to see how far you’ve already come. And when you’re done, take another picture and post it as well so you can bask in the satisfaction of a job well done.
Reward yourself. At various milestones along the way, reward yourself with an activity or treat. Just be sure that your treat doesn’t go against your bigger goal. Example: You decide to go out for ice cream because you just lost 10 pounds.
Have a buddy. Misery loves company…can you think of anyone that would like to join in on your misery? Working together may actually make the job go smoother and faster and make it more enjoyable. You’ll have someone to bounce ideas off of and can offer an objective point of view if necessary. A friend can also keep you focused and hold you accountable.
Well, whatever it is that you have on your list of goals, let me be the first to offer a word of encouragement. Good luck and stay motivated until the end!
July 9th, 2013 - Category: Teaching Kids to Work
Is your “to do” list spilling over onto several pages? Do you have too much to do and not enough time to do it?
Why not employ the forces and start checking off those tasks, one by one.
Jim Fay, co-founder of the Love and Logic website, and parenting expert says, “We all need to feel needed and to know that we’re making a contribution – even kids. But they can’t feel that way if they don’t have chores and make contributions to the family.”
Do you hesitate to ask the kids for help because the tasks on your list are too hard? Why not give them a chance? Your child can probably do more than you think. And if the job is more than they can handle alone, ask another sibling to help them out or you can work along side them.
Then you’ll be sure that the job is done right, you get to spend some quality time together, and the job still gets done.
What could be better?
Have you asked them for help but you’re not getting the response you would like? Instead of dictating how and what should be done, how about giving them some say in what they do? Maybe you can show them the list and let them pick out what they would prefer to help with.
Maybe a special reward can be received after a hard day of helping Mom or Dad. After all, they did go above and beyond their normal chores and helped you knock off a couple things from your list!
If all else fails, maybe you could pull out the guilt trip card :) Explain how most of your day goes toward helping them, ie. making their lunch, washing their clothes, helping them with homework – now you need a little help.
Teaching our kids to serve others can start right in the home by teaching them how to serve or help Mom and Dad.
Learn more by reading this related article: Your Children Crave Responsibility – Give It To Them
February 19th, 2013 - Category: Kids and Responsibility
Does your child seem to be continually tired? If so there may be a physical or psychological explanation for their tiredness, but maybe it’s just because they don’t have anything to wake-up for. Maybe they don’t have any dreams or goals to work toward or achieve. Maybe they are just going through the motions of life, with nothing to enjoy. They may not like who they are anymore.
When I was younger, I was in a graduate school program that I hated, but I didn’t feel that I had any other direction to go. After grudgingly working my way through several months, I began to have difficulty getting up in the morning – even when I’d gone to bed early the night before. Often I’d sleep until one o’clock in the afternoon, roll out of bed, and drag myself to class at the last minute. I began over eating and my dress became sloppy as well. I began to experience chronic tiredness
Interestingly enough, when the program was over, a surge of energy began pouring back into my life. I enjoyed getting up in the morning again and I looked forward to my day. I was able to fulfill my responsibilities. I was excited about life again.
Maybe like me, your child is suffering from chronic tiredness because of a lack of dreams. Not because of anything physical, maybe it’s just because their life is misaligned or mismanaged. And their lack of dreams is leaving them nothing to get fired up about.
Discuss with your child the real source of their tiredness: Is it because they have no dreams to pursue? If so, give them something to live for, something to look forward to, something to wake-up about.
If your child always seems to be tired, consider helping them find a dream to wake-up for!
January 15th, 2013 - Category: Kids and Responsibility
How many times have you looked around your messy house, only to see your kids watching TV, so you thrown up your hands in frustration and decide to have a family meeting? How many times have you come away from the meeting with a desire to make a change but it only lasts for about 3 days, and then everyone is back into their old routines again?
It is time to succeed! It is time to win the Battle of the Chores! Make this the year where everyone’s ideas about chores are changed.
Many times it’s the parents that need to change their thinking about chores too. Maybe you resent your parents for making you do chores. Maybe you want your kids to have a better childhood than you did. Maybe you feel guilty for making one child clean up after another child. Whatever is holding you back, realize that you are hurting your child more than you are helping them by letting them get out of their chores.
Just like we send our children off to school to prepare them for a job when they are adults, having them help out around the house now, prepares them to maintain a home when they are adults. Chores are just another life skill. You are showing them more love by helping them be more responsible around the house.
It’s always easier and faster to just do the job yourself, but remember the short term goal is to get the house clean, the long term goal is to teach your child how to work and be responsible. Start young and you will have less arguing from them as they grow older.
If it’s too late and bad habits are already formed, take baby steps. Plan on taking the next year to slowly add more chores and responsibility. Start this month with having them help with the dinner dishes. Next month add a bigger Saturday chore. Several months down the road, they can have several daily chores, and by the end of the year, you can even add several BIG chores in.
When you add chores slowly it gives you the opportunity to help them and show them the standard you would like the chore to be done at. (And you get to spend some extra time with them!) It takes 21 days of doing something for it to become a habit. By taking a month before you add more responsibility, it helps them and you develop habits of getting those chores done.
Let Them Choose
You may be thinking that this the craziest thing ever when it comes to kids doing their chores but giving them a choice means that the job is more likely to be done. You may just be surprised at what they pick.
Cleaning Loves Company
Set up a certain time of the day when chores should be done. If everyone is cleaning at the same time then it doesn’t make anyone feel like they have to do it all alone.
Use a Reward System
We don’t like to work unless we get rewarded for it and neither do our kids. When offering a reward, make sure it is something they think is a reward, not just something you like. MyJobChart.com offers kids the opportunity to choose their own reward. Points add up and they are able to cash them in for items on Amazon.com. What could be easier?
Make a plan for this year to be different. Start now by showing your kids how much you love them by making them do chores and be more responsible.
December 28th, 2012 - Category: Teaching Kids to Work
Parents establish cleanliness habits from a young age. We teach our kids to take a bath, wash their hair, brush their teeth, and how to take care of their toileting needs because we know that establishing these habits young will make them routine as they grow older. Chores, however, are not as cut-and-dry. At what age should they be required, and what is appropriate for younger kids?
Appropriate Toddler Chores
As the mother of three young ones, I started chores just shy of two-years-old. If they are old enough to recognize that they made a mess, they are old enough to clean it up. I started with simply picking up toys. Make up a song, set up a timer and make it a race, or get lots of buckets and let the kids organize the toys in unique ways. Consider organizing by color, shape, or size. Chores seem less like work when they are made into a game.
By the time kids have the hang of cleaning up after themselves, I will start introducing them to other helpful activities including food prep, setting the table, sorting clothes, matching socks, yard work and even vacuuming. I’ve had one child that was a pleaser and she was ecstatic when I told her she was old enough to be entrusted with mixing the batter, putting napkins on the table, or helping mom push the vacuum. My middle child was not an anxious to help, but when he realized that tossing a salad is the mom-ordained “playing with your food” time, he got more into it. The biggest caution at this age is that some kids will want to do more than is age appropriate (like cutting, slicing, or handling delicate dishes), so emphasize that this is “help” time and be available while in the kitchen. Lots of potential dangers lurk there.
Young School Kids
By the time my kids were in Kindergarten they could fold towels, strip beds, and sort laundry. My oldest is now in third grade and she helps stir the pots at dinner, flip pancakes, sweep floors, plant the garden, wash cars, and clean sinks. My 1st grade son helps gather trash, unload the dishwasher, clean up the yard, and fold clothes. The older they get, the more they are capable of doing.
The hardest part for me is not in establishing the chores, it is in sticking with them. Let’s face it, sometimes it would be a lot easier to pick up the toys yourself rather than listening to the initial whining associated with asking kids to do it. Top that off with the guilt of having school-age kids do housework after they’ve been in school all day and then came home to homework, and it gets very difficult for me to enforce the chore habit. What I’ve learned the hard way, however, is that if I don’t stick with the chores, I have to start all over with breaking the whining. Just like with discipline, staying consistent with job requirements makes life easier for everyone. The truth is that responsibilities can allow kids to feel more grown-up and more of a productive member of the family. Combine that with point-earning potential, and chores are really a win-win for everyone. The keys are to start young, keep them growing, and keep them fun. Even as an adult, turning on my favorite music and dancing with the broom handle makes my job easier.
October 31st, 2012 - Category: Kids and Responsibility
How do you awake a desire in your children to be more responsible? How do you encourage them to be more diligent? It can all start by nurturing your own enthusiasm of their independence.
It can be hard to cut those apron strings. As a parent you want what is best for your children. To step back and watch them make a mistake or a wrong decision is one of the hardest things to do. But having an attitude of excitement for the progress and growth of your child will help the process. Instead of being scared of the mistakes thy may make, appreciate the progress they do make.
To teach kids responsibility, teach them how to do something new by letting them assist you. You can point out tips and how you expect the job to be done along the way. List possible actions, outcomes, and consequences of different situations along the way.
Relay to them your personal experiences and how you succeeded or failed. They need to know you are human too, so when they do fail, they know they can come to you for help and advise.
Ask them questions that will stimulate the thought process of how they can solve certain situations. Guide them on where they can look for help but don’t make any decisions for them. They may get frustrated and want you to give them a quick fix. What can take you minutes, may take them days to figure out, but in the long run, advice will be better than doing it for them when you are teaching kids responsibility.
Remember that its’ O.K. if they decide to do something differently than we would. It doesn’t make it wrong, just different. Who knows, they may even prove you wrong!
As they come up with solutions to their problems, their self-esteem and confidence will increase, and they will become more responsible and independent.
At MyJobChart.com, kids can become more responsible by being self motivated to finish the jobs that are assigned to them. With parental notices on whether or not certain jobs are done, you can encourage them without being overbearing.
Teaching kids responsibility takes time and isn’t something that happens by accident. It takes intentional encouragement and patience. Be excited for their growth, lead and guide them along the way, and then let them fly.
January 20th, 2012 - Category: Kids and Responsibility
You hear it all the time, “I just want my kids to be responsible.” What does that mean to you? Better yet, what does it mean to your child? Sometimes I wonder if my kids and I speak the same language. Instructions that are perfectly clear to me do not always get the result I was hoping for. Does that ever happen at your house?
Let’s take a closer look at the word “responsible.” It means being answerable or accountable for something within one’s power, such as a list of “chores” to be done. However, in order to be accountable, the child needs to know what exactly what is expected. How many times have you sent a child to clean their room and when you go to inspect it you wonder how they thought it qualified as being clean? We need to be very specific in what we see the end result as being so that our child will know when the chore is completed. Having their chores listed on their online job chart makes being accountable easy. Being able to check off completed chores gives your child a sense of accomplishment.
The best way to help a child understand what they need to do is for the parent to work alongside of their child at first, showing them the way and giving them tips on how to get the job done. It’s like giving them a “lesson” first. That way everyone knows what is expected. Just don’t expect more than is reasonable. Having attainable goals and the prospect of earning a reward will keep your child enthusiastic about doing his or her jobs.
Making the chores age-appropriate is also important. This is where you will find My Job Charthelpful. With the use of the icons even young children can be assigned simple chores. It’s wise not to overwhelm or over-schedule children of any age.
If you are new to My Job Chart or even if you have been utilizing our system for some time, you will find useful tips on how to best set up and maintain a workable program for your child on the main site and in previous posts on this blog, particularly in “Making the Most of My Job Chart.”
Now, let’s try tweaking that word, “responsible.” You can also think of it as “response – able.” Able to respond; most parents want to raise children that are caring, compassionate, helpful, innovative and dependable. If a child can learn to see what is needed (someone needs help, a mess needs to be cleaned up, etc.) and respond to it without being asked, they are becoming “response – able.” When they realize they’ve made a mistake and their first reaction is to apologize and try to make amends, they are becoming “response – able.” These traits are learned as children observe their parents behave in this manner and as they have opportunities to do the same. Having a system in place where kids are accountable on a regular basis for completing tasks will go far in helping them to become responsible now and in the years to come.
December 7th, 2011 - Category: Teaching Kids to Work
Okay, we may be stretching this one a little bit. But consider for a moment the possibility that getting your kids to work with an online job chart might easily be preparing them for life in the corporate world.
If you’re like us, you sometimes lament the decline in education. It seems that most young people are unprepared for either college or a career. This may not be because students are lazy or lack intelligence. Sometimes, it’s the basic skills that are lacking. Many students have no idea how to organize, plan, and complete work.
But as someone who has been in the corporate world, you know it’s imperative to learn those skills. No matter what your job description may be, you’ll have a list of tasks that need to be completed. And oftentimes, you are the only one checking to make sure the work gets done. How and when those tasks get completed is often up to you. But that’s not the only way a job chart like MyJobChart.com is going to benefit your child in their future career.
Here are some other similarities:
It’s online – for those who are accustomed to taping a job chart to the fridge, this might be a big change. And it may seem extreme. After all, with a physical job chart, you just check off the box and you’re done. (Of course, then you have to come up with cash for allowance.) An online job chart may be a little bit more work to access. But when it’s online, you can do so much more. You can track what’s been done in the past, save, send, or spend your points, make fast changes to the chart, and learn online skills.
Most businesses have turned to some sort of tracking model. To keep everyone on task and collaborating, companies have adopted solutions like Basecamp or Zoho. Can you imagine how far ahead of the curve your children will be if they’ve tracked their chores on a similar program?
It’s their responsibility – your child has the chance to use their own special login to access their chores. Yes, you get access to their account and you’re notified with an email when rewards are earned. But for the most part, your children are responsible for checking what’s on their list, completing their work, and updating their account. Sound like something you’ve been doing in your job?
It gives your child choices – Myjobchart.com is a lot more complex than just finishing chores and putting a check mark next to it. In addition to completing chores, your child is rewarded with points that they can save, spend, or share by donating to charities. This gives them the chance to make choices for themselves. They’re responsible and as the parent you can work with them to make good choices and validate (or censor) their decisions. No, you’re not a boss, but you are the boss of your family and it’s important to know what choices your kids are making and why.
The truth of the matter is, a simple process like this one is teaching your children skills they may lack. You have chores that need to get done. Your children have skills that need to be learned. Why not try Myjobchart.com today?
July 12th, 2011 - Category: Kids and Responsibility
Have you ever tried to take a week off? Not on vacation, but just staying at home, doing nothing all day long? It’s kind of nice for a day or two, right? But before long, you start to notice little things:
Before you know it, your week off is now a honey-do vacation. You, of your own free will, have just given yourself chores. And how do you feel when the chores are done and you return to work? Fantastic!
The natural instinct of fixing and cleaning that you have is something your children are just starting to develop. They don’t want to sit around either. And although they may whine and make a fuss about doing their chores on a regular basis, they want to feel a sense of accomplishment and responsibility.
Let me give you some examples where I’ve witnessed this lately:
-3 young, homeschooled children had the day off because both their parents had to work. Rather than spend their time playing video games the kids all researched topics that they could teach one another.
-After helping her mother in the garden, a little girl asked if she could plant a garden of her own.
-After their father built a new playhouse, two young kids went to work sweeping the floor and carefully arranging their toys.
Your children crave responsibility. They want to do things that are useful and appreciated. And you can cultivate that characteristic. Give them a chance to be responsible.
If your child informs you that the towel rack in the bathroom is loose – tell him to fix it. If your young child is hungry, encourage her to fix a snack and make enough for all the others in the house. If one of your kids steps on a sharp object in their bedroom, hand them the vacuum.
No, this is not the traditional way of doing chores. But not all chores have to be assigned. In fact, if you’re waiting for all the chores to get done so you have a clean house, you’ll always be waiting for something. Giving your children more responsibility and teaching them to act when something needs doing will develop great characteristics and help you as parents maintain a well-run home.