this post is sponsored by Blue Apron
One of my biggest goals as a mother is to raise capable kids. Here are a few things we do in our home to help our boys become independent and capable as they grow!
Are you trying to raise capable kids too?
I think every mother wants to raise capable kids. We all have big dreams for our children, and raising them to have important life skills is a great way to help them on them accomplish big things.
My parents did a really good job of raising my siblings and I to be capable, and I’ve incorporated a lot of their parenting into my parenting.
Have you seen the new Disney and Pixar movie, Soul? It’s the sweetest movie that was just released on Disney+, and it’s all about what makes you, you. Watching it made me think about all the ways my sweet boys (and my siblings) are different, and how their individual quirks and personalities require different methods of parenting.
But even if each child needs a different method of parenting, the end goal is the same, and you can help your kids learn and develop skills despite different personalities and interests.
These are three things that my parents did, and I’m doing, to help raise capable kids.
1. Start them young
The earlier the better, in my opinion! When kids are little, they desperately want to be big, so take advantage of that enthusiasm and give them assignments that teach them to help around the house.
Here are a few chores that even little kids can help with:
- Unload the silverware from the dishwasher
- Set the table — place napkins and silverware
- Go get the mail
- Match the socks from the laundry basket
- Dusting furniture
- Spray the mirror spray to clean the mirrors
- Switch the loads of laundry (you take them out of the washing machine and he puts them in the dryer)
- Water the plants
- Make their bed (much easier with our favorite Beddy’s, of course!)
- Put away their toys
- Put their folded laundry away
- Wipe down countertops or tabletops
- Feed animals
- Collect trash around the house (make sure they have supervision with plastic garbage bags, of course)
- Clear food items off the table after meals
- Put their own dishes in the dishwasher
- Use a hand held vacuum to clean up crumbs
- Put pillows back on the couch properly
- Clean up books and put them back on the shelf or in a basket.
If you teach them that working around the home is part of being in the family, they’ll continue to work and help as they get older.
One of my favorite ways to get my kids to help around the house is including them in the kitchen, cooking meals! They love being “big enough” to use knives, potato peelers, the blender, and other kitchen tools, and I teaching them to safely use them gives me a lot of peace of mind.
I use Blue Apron meals as an easy way to get them involved in cooking because they’re easy and quick meals, and everything comes ready, portioned out, and even with picture instructions, so it’s fun for them to cook a meal!
Blue Apron has been celebrating the release of Disney and Pixar’s Soul movie, streaming now on Disney+ with limited time recipes that feed your soul — we made the Tempo Turkey Sloppy Joes together and the boys LOVED making and eating them, and even trying some new flavors. It would be really fun to watch the movie together and then make one of the limited time recipes together — check out the current meal options HERE, (today is the last day to add the final meal celebrating the movie to your order) and get $60 off your first three meals here!
2. Let them figure things out
As parents, we have a lot more experience, and could absolutely solve problems more efficiently, and better than our kids. But letting them figure out solutions to problems is the way they really learn.
When I was younger and I ran into a problem, my dad would say, “If I gave you $10,000, could you figure this out?” He wasn’t actually going to give us the money, but it was a simple way to show us that everything is “figureoutable” if you have enough incentive.
My dad did this over and over when we were kids, and it helped us develop that kind of “can-do” attitude that has served all of us into adulthood. For example, when I went off to college, I woke up late on the morning of one of my final exams. My roommate and I were in the same class, and we had our final exam paper due that morning by 8am that morning. When we woke up and realized the deadline had passed, my roommate started panicking.
Immediately I thought, “if someone gave me $10,000 to figure this out, could I do it?”
I honestly can’t even remember all the specifics of how we submitted our assignments, but with my dad’s words ringing in my ears, we somehow got ahold of our professor and got our exam papers submitted. Instead of giving up, I drew upon the success of 10 years of previous predicaments that I had solved, and figured this one out too.
So let your kids struggle, and even let them fail sometimes, instead of stepping in to save them, because those struggles are the true teachers!
3. Make work fun
My dad was the best at making work fun, and this is something that I really work on with my kids.
If you can teach your kids to come up with a game, or a story, or some other mental puzzle to make work feel less like work, then they’ll learn to enjoy work so much more.
For example, when my kids have to clean up a zillion LEGOs all over the playroom, I could say “go clean up all those LEGOs.”
I could say, “We’re in a pirate ship and water is leaking into the boat! All of these LEGOs are the water — scoop them up and toss them into these buckets (our LEGO bins) before our ship sinks!”
Immediately, three little boys are hard at work scooping up the “water,” stacking the bins, and, of course, talking like pirates.
If your kids don’t love imaginary scenarios like that, turn on some music instead and see how much they can do before one song is over. One little mental switch makes a huge difference in their work ethic, and that sticks over time.
Now it’s your turn…
These are just three of the things I am doing as a parent to try to raise capable kids. Now tell me what you do with your kids!