My best advice to moms is to teach kids to be self reliant. We all know that hovering helicopter parents that serve their children like little kings and queens just puts those same kids at a disadvantage in life. The problem with teaching kids self reliance is it sounds great, but it is a total pain in the neck in daily life. Kids balk, ignore, cry, fuss and lose their minds when asked to lift a finger. Avoiding work is normal. When kids are forced to learn to take responsibility for themselves, do chores and learn new skills they act like they’ve been forced into hard labor. Don’t give in to the tears and pouting. It is worth it in the long run and the payoff of teaching your kids to work is worth all the headaches in the meantime.
Your kids can clean, help and cook!(Don’t faint! Don’t click away. I promise it can be done.)
1) Kids can clean
As soon as your child is in Kindergarten start talking about how ‘big kids’ have new and exciting privileges and responsibilities. Kindergarteners can put away silverware and non-breakable kitchen items. You may have to rearrange some cabinets so the little ones can easily do their chores. My 13 & 10 year old sons have been unloading and loading the dishwasher as long as I can remember. No, it won’t all be done perfectly. You have to let go of control and let them learn. You’ll thank me later.
2) Kids can help
In my house every single person over age 7 has to earn their keep. Sure, it sounds archaic and outdated, but it is a lesson about life. It is easy to let kids be passive and expect the world to cater to them, but it hurts the kids. I teach the kids that they need to learn to be responsible for themselves and to do things that serve others. In our house it means older boys have to put the laundry away for the little guys or tidy up a mess that they didn’t make. Once the boys were old enough to understand that Mom and Dad spend time and resources on everyone in a household, they understood that we all have to care for our loved ones. Just think back on every episode of The Cosby Show you watched years ago. Dr. Huxtable never let those kids be slackers! What? You didn’t learn how to be a great parent by watching The Cosby Show? You missed out.
3) Kids can cook
When you teach your kids to cook, the rewards are immediate. Cooking is the one life skill kids enjoy learning. I’m not saying let your toddlers loose in the kitchen on their own, but learning to cook is a valuable skill for older kids, tweens and young teens. My advice is to start out with easy recipes that give kids a sense of accomplishment. Encouraging a love of cooking will help kids be healthier in the future. I’m a visual learner and so are my boys and I have two slideshows that you can use with your kids. You will love not having a sink full of dirty dishes and the kids will love that they can cook both recipes on their own!
Mini Apple Pies
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The whole family will love these yummies!
I could eat breakfast any time of day. The Bacon, egg and cheese muffins are great for dinner, too. Shh, I’m a rebel. Don’t tell anyone.
Bacon, Egg & Cheese Muffins
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Thanks very much to Pillsbury for sponsoring this post and for providing Pillsbury products for us to have some fun with. I found lots of fun recipes that I’ll be teaching the boys to make on the Pillsbury site. Be sure to go check it out!