Sticky Notes - A Guide for Parents: On On Raising Confident, Competent Kids
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A Guide for Parents: On On Raising Confident, Competent Kids

August 8, 2022 by Emily Moore

A Perfect PEAR: Raising Confident & Competent Kids

Practically since our kids were born, my husband and I have joked that our primary goal in parenting is to work ourselves out of the job. Of course, we’re mostly kidding – we love being parents. But this saying helps us stay focused on our intention to raise capable, independent beings who are not unduly reliant upon us. 

In reality, kids don’t need us to do everything for them all the time. Research tells us that age-appropriate chores benefit kids in all kinds of ways, including fostering competence and confidence. 

Preschoolers

As luck would have it, very young children are so down with this! They love to be included in kitchen tasks like setting and clearing the table, making sandwiches, and folding and putting away clean dish towels. By all means, let them help! Just know that their execution won’t be perfect, and their “help” may not actually be helpful at all. Whatever the task, it will probably take at least twice as long with a preschooler. And that’s just fine. This isn’t about perfection or efficiency; the goal is simply to get them in the habit of pitching in. So, praise their participation, thank them for their help, and have fun together! 

Elementary School Kids

There’s no shortage of kitchen tasks for school-age children. Taking out the trash, loading and unloading the dishwasher, and putting away groceries can be great chores to reinforce the reality that chores are part of life. And please keep in mind that chores don’t have to be drudgery – there’s nothing wrong with letting kids choose responsibilities they enjoy or are curious about. If your kid digs cooking, consider putting them in charge of weekend pancakes. Just keep in mind, that mistakes will be made, and cleanup may be less than ideal. Keep your cool, give supportive feedback, and know that’s all part of learning and growth.

Teenagers

Teens often appreciate having chores that capitalize on their burgeoning independence – say, going on a grocery run or making dinner for the family. And it’s during the teenage years that you’ll really start to see the payoff from all those years of steady, incremental practice. As a mom of two teens myself, I’m telling you, it’s worth the wait. Because knowing how to cook, clean up, and work with others is a darn good foundation for adulthood!

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