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Archive for the ‘Teaching Kids to Work’ Category

Why Is Monitoring Social Media Important as a Parent?

October 22nd, 2015 - Category: Communication, Kids and Responsibility, Social Media, Teenagers

social monitor

A recent article on eluded to the fact that spying on your child’s online “social” activity breaks down trust and encourages them to hide information from you. As a mom that closely monitors her teen’s activity, I couldn’t agree more. Spying, snooping or otherwise secretly investigating will break down trust. This is why it as never been a secret in our household that social media will be monitored and has always been a prerequisite to having access to social media.

Staying Informed

When I was young and met a new friend, my mom was able to talk to the other soccer moms, PTA parents, or neighborhood friends to ensure my new friend was someone in the right crowd and not the local troublemaker. They met their parents and the kid together the first time they dropped me off to hang out, and said hello when they came back to pick me up. Translation: they met and knew my friends.

But that wasn’t enough. They listened to our conversations as we laughed in the den or family room and picked up on just enough info that they were able to keep the pulse on our lives, relationships and drama. In today’s world, much of the socialization and “hanging out” occurs online. Hanging out at someone’s house has been replaced with group texting and Snapchat – each person in their own homes. The conversations have moved from the living room to the mobile world, and as parents we can’t allow that change to disconnect us from their lives. I believe that monitoring her social media is simply a way to get to know her friends, not unlike what my mother did for me many years ago.

Engaging with Purpose

Let me be clear that none of this is done in secret. When I see something that gives me pause, I ask her about it. More often than not, these conversations move beyond the picture or comment and become a discussion about why the choices this person made in their post weren’t in their best interest, and what the potential negative outcomes might be. I use these incidents as pathways to engage with her. Ironically, now she will often say to me (before I even get a chance to ask) something along the lines of, “Hey mom did you see what he/she posted? – Wow.. that wasn’t a good idea.”

Understanding the Risks

The second reason I monitor her social media is because the stakes are high, much higher than when I was a teen. No longer are your social messes easy to clean up. In a matter of seconds, one bad decision can go viral, be seen and sent to thousands, and utterly devastate a young person’s life. I don’t feel I really have to defend the relevancy of this statement as we see its evidence in our news more often than we would hope. The kid bullied on social media, the college student with a bright future devastated by a drunk post, or the innocent picture of a young woman at the beach lifted from a public site and used for very different purposes. And once it’s out there, no PR professional or social media expert can ever wipe it away.

To me, this issue is no different than so many others impacting parents today. Success or failure often lies in when and how expectations for our children are set. The later you start and the more ambiguous you are, along with the transparency you show, will very likely impact your success. At the end of the day, however, remember that your job is not only to prepare them for the real world but to keep them safe in the interim. It’s one of the most difficult yet rewarding jobs you will ever accept.

Goal Setting 101

August 29th, 2014 - Category: Kids and Responsibility



Whether it’s a scholarship that’s in your future or just a desire to get a better math grade than last year, the beginning of the school year is a great time to set some goals.

If you want to ensure that your goals get accomplished, follow these simple tips to keep you on track.


Start by making sure your goals are realistic.

Don’t set yourself up for disappointment by setting goals that you aren’t going to be able to accomplish.  Failure can deflate your confidence and affect other goals as well.  Don’t be vague in your goal setting and set a time limit.


Break it down.

Write down the steps it will take to finish your goal.  Keep track of how far you’ve come and how far you still need to go.  If necessary reward yourself at certain increments to keep your momentum going.


Make yourself accountable.

Tell a friend about your goals and check in with them periodically to make sure that you stay on track.  For more fun, make goals together and have a race to the finish.


Think positive.

Positive thinking is an essential factor when it comes to success.  Use positive language and thoughts when referring to your goals and you may be surprised how much farther you can get.


Goal setting is much more than simply saying you want something to happen. Remember to clearly define exactly what you want and make a plan to get there, and your odds of success will be within your reach.


So, what will you decide to accomplish today?




Work + Positive Attitude = Success

August 12th, 2014 - Category: Teaching Kids to Work, Uncategorized

 work hard


A strong work ethic – one that includes a positive and productive approach to work – is favored at home, at school, and in the work force.


Work ethic doesn’t just consist of the ability to work.  It is comprised of a person’s attitude, feelings, and beliefs about work.  When a person has a good work ethic they understand the benefits and importance of work and it’s ability to strengthen their character for the better.


Whether you have a good or a bad work ethic can determine how you set goals, how reliable you are, and how well you cooperate and communicate with others.  It can also determine the effort, timeliness, dedication, honesty, and determination you put into completing a task.  Your leadership and volunteerism choices are also impacted by your work ethic.


We may be able to bribe or threaten our children into working.  But is that accomplishing what we want it to?


Teaching our children to not only work but to have a positive attitude about work is the key. Here are some tips on how to create a good work ethic in your child.


Let them contribute with chores.

Even young children can do chores.  Parents shouldn’t feel they are burdening kids or robbing them of playtime. Children want to contribute and do things that make them feel valuable. Chores encourage the idea that service is expected in the family. If we don’t invite them to help, we miss an opportunity to teach and they miss an opportunity to learn.


Make Work Positive

If parents can tell or show kids how work contributes to the family’s well-being, children will be more positive about chores. Giving them choices can also help their attitude but don’t let them opt out.  Incentives can also make work more fun.


Let Them Fail

It’s the effort that counts. Don’t expect kids to always do their tasks well but resist the urge to step in and take over. If the child fails to water the plant, let it wilt or die. If teenagers have trouble on a job, or even get fired because they fail to show up on time or do the job correctly, don’t make excuses for them. Let them learn that their actions, or inactions, have consequences. Talk about what happened and ask them what they can do to keep from repeating their mistake. Don’t rub it in, but don’t let them shrug off what happened either.


Explain the “Why” of Work

As children get older, it’s important for parents to discuss the meaning and purpose of work. Now is the time to make it clear that jobs are not done for drudgery’s sake but to create value, make products, or serve people or even a greater good. A young person needs to learn that there is a purpose to work.  That doing a job well makes you a better person and enhances character and self-esteem. One way parents can start this discussion with their kids is by sharing their own work experiences – good and bad – and talk about the lessons they’ve learned and how they were shaped by those experiences.


Teach Patience

In real life, work isn’t always fun.  Sometimes the boss isn’t fair, customers are rude, and hours seem to drag by. Expect teens to complain about their jobs. Let them vent.  In fact, encourage it. After all, adults sometimes gripe about their jobs too. Just be ready to offer encouragement afterwards.


Model Good Work Ethic

Kids learn good work habits when their parents have good work habits. You are the one that can show them that work is important and that it’s part of a balanced life.  Resolve yourself that work is exactly what the name implies – work. There are things in life that aren’t going to be fun to do, but they still have to be done.  As an adult we can still have a positive attitude about it.






Does Your Child Have Leadership Skills?

February 21st, 2014 - Category: Teaching Kids to Work

Does your child have leadership skills


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.





Need Some Motivation?

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!


Divide and Conquer – Ask the Kids for Help and Get More Done

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




Helping Your Tired Kids Wake-Up

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.

  • Consider enrolling them in a sport or a club.
  • Help them find a friend that they can share special moments with.
  • Encourage them to branch out and try new things.
  • Give them some responsibility.

If your child always seems to be tired, consider helping them find a dream to wake-up for!

Battle of the Chores

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.

Start Young

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.

Baby Steps

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.

Alongside You

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. offers kids the opportunity to choose their own reward.  Points add up and they are able to cash them in for items on  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.