Tag Archive for chores

6 Tips to Raise Confident Children

Do you want to raise a confident child? Of course you do. We all want our children to grow confident—willing to tackle healthy risks, able to stand firm in the face of opposition, willing to persevere through setbacks, comfortable with their ability to explore and achieve. With that in mind, consider these six tips for raising a confident child.

  • Little Super Hero Rescue ChildDevelop a warm, trusting relationship with your child. Spend time with him. Talk. Have fun. Spending time with your child communicates how much you love him. A child who knows he is loved by his parents comes to see himself as lovable…and he grows more confident.
  • Trust your child with significant tasks. Give him an important job to do in the home and teach him the significance of that job. Inform him how the job helps you, his family, and his home. Praise his effort on this job. Thank him for doing it. Publicly and privately acknowledge his work. A child who knows his parents view his work and efforts as important will grow confident.
  • Know your child. Become involved in his life. Get to know his friends. Learn about his interests. Be present for his activities. Have an awareness of his daily schedule and life—who he is with, where he is, what he is doing. By knowing your child in this manner, you communicate how much you value him. A child who feels valued becomes more confident.
  • Set clear limits. Every child needs limits to protect him and encourage his growth. Age appropriate limits increase his opportunity for successful experiences. Successful experiences increase confidence. So, set healthy limits that reflect your family values. Communicate those limits clearly and concisely.
  • Practice self-control. Don’t be a pushover, enforce the limits. When you tell your child “no,” stick with it. This will demand you think through your “no’s” and have good reasons for saying “no.” Explain your reason in a brief sentence, then let your “no” be “no.” No need to debate or justify. You have already stated your reason. Now have the self-control to stick with it. When a child experiences a parent who will briefly explain a firm, loving limit and then stand by that limit, he feels secure. Most likely, he will eventually internalize that healthy limit. A secure child who has internalized appropriate limits becomes a confident child.
  • That being said, as your child matures allow him to have input into the rules and limits. When limits are somewhat flexible, be willing to negotiate. Give you child some voice. Listen to discover your child reasons for wanting to modify the limit. Ask questions to make sure you understand his reasons and to help him clarify his own reasons. Strive to truly understand your child’s reasoning. Clearly communicate your concerns as well. Then, when both your child’s reasons and your concerns are clearly understood, you can negotiate. Sometimes you may choose to go with your child’s idea. Sometimes you may not. Either way, a child who feels his ideas are heard and respected becomes a child who has the confidence to speak up.


Combining these six tips will create a warm, trusting relationship between your and your child while setting and enforcing clear limits on a consistent basis. This combination will help your child:

  • Feels loved and see himself as lovable,
  • Receives acknowledgement of his significant contribution to the home and sees himself as significant,
  • Experiences success within the clear boundaries of a structured family life, and
  • Internalized the values inherent in that structure.


In other words, you will have raised a confident child!

The Top 6 Reasons for Men to Help Around the House

A recent study conducted by Alyssa Croft, a PhD Candidate in the University of British Columbia, suggests that “girls grow up with broader career goals in households where domestic duties are shared more equitably by parents” (Read review of study here). In other words, girls who watch their father do dishes, laundry, and other household chores Man ironing a pair of jeansbelieve they can pursue a broader range of vocational options, not just “feminine oriented jobs.” The broader range of options includes vocations that range from nurse to doctor, teacher to accountant, librarian to scientist, secretary to lawyer. Girls who witnessed their father engage in household chores were also more likely to envision themselves as having future careers in leadership or management positions.


Interestingly, mothers and fathers had a different impact on their daughter’s future in this study of 326 children between the ages of seven and thirteen years. A mother’s belief about gender and work equality predicted the daughter’s attitude toward gender. But, a father’s actual involvement in household chores seemed to be the key to open the gate for daughters to pursue more career roles involving leadership, management, or professional positions. It seems actions speak louder than words in the case of fathers and careers!


I don’t know about you, but I’d like my daughters to experience the freedom to pursue any career they choose, whether it be a stay-at-home mom, nurse, doctor, teacher, or business owner. If my sharing household chores can help broaden their perceived career options, then I guess I can wash some dishes and help with the laundry. However, I believe there are other, even more, significant reasons for a husband and father to help with household chores. Let me share six.

  1. We already learned that it might help to broaden our daughter’s perceived career options. But, there…I said it again.
  2. A father who helps with household chores is modeling a humble attitude of service. I hear men speak of themselves as leaders in the home. Well, take that role of leadership seriously by leading in the art of service. Show your family that leaders serve.
  3. When a father helps with household chores, he shows the importance of working together. It takes a whole family to keep a household running smoothly. Dusting, cooking ironing, cleaning, laundry, yard work, setting and clearing the table…the list goes on…and it is too much for one person! When a husband models a willingness to join the team and actively participate in the day to day household duties, children are more likely to work for the “team” (AKA-family) as well.
  4. Helping with household chores is an expression of love and appreciations. When a husband washes dinner dishes, he is, in a very practical way, expressing love and appreciation for his wife cooking the dinner. Expressing love and appreciation will grow a more intimate marital relationship and close-knit family. So, show how much you love and appreciation your wife by cleaning the bathroom.
  5. As Kevin Leman said, “sex begins in the kitchen.” Women find men who do household chores somewhat sexy. They are drawn to men who can humbly serve in doing household chores. If you think I’m making this up, check out this short 1-min-51-sec video…unbelievable. Need I say more?
  6. The number one reason for/ husbands and fathers to help with household chores… because dishes get dirty, furniture gets dusty, and laundry needs folded. We like to get things done. If it needs done, “man up” and do it.

Dear Children, The Real Reason I Make You Do Chores

Children, sometimes I ask you to help around the house or in the yard. Sometimes I may even expect you to do quite a bit. So, I feel as though I need to tell you the real reason I expect you to do chores. Contrary to what you might think, it is not so I can enjoy the fruits of child labor or sit in my chair watching the game while you do all the work. No, my main reason for making you do chores is much more personal. One reason I make you do chores is revealed in a study completed in 2003 by M. Rossman at the University of Minnesota. This study suggested that the best predictor of a person’s success in their mid-Mother And Son Doing Laundrytwenties is participating in household chores starting around three or four years of age. Success in this study included not using drugs, completing their education, starting their career, and having high quality relationships. I want you to have those things…and if chores will help, I want you to do chores. But, that is not my main reason.


There are other reasons I make you do chores. Chores teach us to wait for and work for good things rather than jump at the first thing that comes along. Learning to help with household chores teaches many life skills as well…skills like dusting, vacuuming, cleaning, keeping a neat home, how to do laundry, hot wo maintain a year.  Knowing how to do these tasks will make you more independent and reliable. As much as I hate to see you grow up and leave home, I want you to have all these skills before you go. But, this is still not my main reason for making you do chores.


You have to admit, after we finish mowing, weeding, and trimming the yard (or picking up, dusting, and vacuuming the living room) it is nice to sit back and look at our work. Chores give us that opportunity…the opportunity to feel good about work we complete and completed well. I want you to have that experience and take it with you wherever you go. That sense of competence and achievement will help you develop a strong work ethic and lead to greater success at work and in relationships. As important as this is, it is still not my main reason for making you do chores.


My main reason for making you do chores is much more personal. I make you do chores because…I love you. You are part of our family. As a family, we work as a team to keep our household running smoothly. In all reality, I cannot do it alone. I need you. I want you to know you are a valued member of our family. We need your strength, your insight, and your participation. We need you. Your contribution to our family is irreplaceable. And, I enjoy working with you. I enjoy our time together, talking as we work—sharing the burden, laughing as we struggle through an obstacle. Having you work by my side makes everything go by quicker and seam easier. So thank you. Thank you for helping with the household chores. When you start your own family, I hope you will look back on our projects with joy and give your children the same opportunities to groan and complain while you love them, nurture them, and cherish your time doing chores with them.

3 Tips to Motivate Your Child

What did you do as a kid just for the fun it? I remember spending hours riding my bicycle. On the other hand, cleaning my room was not very fun or motivating. I recently read a review that described 3 factors that help build internal motivation. Contemplating these three factors (yes, I know–who contemplates motivation “just for the fun of it”), I could see why bike-riding was motivating and fun for me. First, bike-riding gave me a sense of competence. It was easy enough that I could do it; but it also presented challenges. For instance, could I make it up the next hill or would I have to get off and walk part way? If I did not make it up the hill one day, could I make it by the end of the week? How long will it take me to get to my destination…and can I shorten that time over the next couple of trips? Each of these challenges presented an opportunity to grow more competent and efficient as a bike-rider. A growing sense competence motivates people.


Second, riding my bike gave me a sense of autonomy. I was on my own. I could make choices about where to go, what path to take, and how fast to travel. The choices were mine! I had the “wind at my back and the sun on my face.” An adventure awaited around every bend. One time I was even “tailed” by an army helicopter. Later, I discovered it was my uncle, but the adventure of fleeing before an unknown army helicopter was exciting. Yes, riding my bike gave me a sense of autonomy, filled with choices and adventures. 


Third, I often rode my bike to visit friends…or, I rode with friends. Bike-riding helped me connect with other people. Where ever we went, my friends and I could stand around our bikes and talk.  Riding my bike was a ticket to connection, a journey to relationship.


You can see why I was motivated to ride my bike. It gave me a growing sense of competence, personal choices that built autonomy, and the opportunity to connect with friends. Cleaning my room, on the other hand, did not instill a sense of competence and presented no real challenge. I usually had to do it in response to my mother’s directive–I had no choice and no sense of autonomy. And, cleaning my room did nothing to enhance my relationships. My friends weren’t even allowed in my room. I know cleaning my room was, and is, important; but it is just not very motivating. But, could a parent use these three factors to help motivation their children to do things like clean their rooms? I think it might work. Consider these tips:


Help your child build a sense of competence or independence by allowing your children the opportunity to help with chores and jobs that present some challenge. Instead of simply “picking up the clothes,” let them help paint the bedroom, devise a new plan for storing their clothes (check out this fun theory video for ideas in this area), or make it a game in which you score points based on speed combined with efficiency and final cleanliness. We once attached each task of a morning routine to a puzzle piece for our preschool daughter. She then faced the challenge of finishing her morning routine to see what picture she produced with the puzzle pieces. She loved it…and the morning routine suddenly became easier. Do whatever you can think of to make the chore more of a challenge. Of course, some chores are simply boring. But if we can find creative ways to make more of them exciting, maybe the boring ones won’t seem so bad.


To help your child develop a sense of personal autonomy, give them options and choices. Let them choose when to complete a chore, which of two necessary chores they will do for you, or how to do a chore. I like to cut the grass–sometimes in vertical rows, sometimes in horizontal rows, sometimes in a square, sometimes in diagonal rows, and sometimes I even start with letters (see the picture on the left for a message I recently left in the lawn for my wife when she returned from a trip). Either way, the grass still gets cut. Let your children have the same freedom in completing their chores. Teach them that they have options and choices.


Use chores to build connection with others by doing some chores with your children. Chip in and enjoy working together in the yard. If you plan on painting something, have a paint party with pizza and pop that your children, their friends, you, and your friends can all enjoy. Sing a song together while working. Enjoy working in groups to complete volunteer work in the neighborhood as well. Use your imagination to discover more ways to build connection by having fun working together.


I know that children will still not enjoy every chore…who does? But attempting to incorporate these three ideas into some of the household chores may help reduce their resistance to chores in general. And, your whole family might have a little fun in the process.

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