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Old 09-05-2014, 07:36 AM
 
393 posts, read 581,157 times
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Hello parents,

I'm reaching out to you for suggestions or projects that your kid can do that teaches them responsibility, self worth, and more importantly independence.

I have a Girl who is 8 years old, and I have to remind myself that I am not just a chauffeur for her activities but a parent that can put them in the right situation to teach them self reliance.

Example: I'm starting to let her order her own food at restaurants. The other day she helped me repair a damaged fence with a drill, screws, and a saw.

Any experiences you can share would be great regardless of age! Thanks for the feedback.
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Old 09-05-2014, 08:02 AM
 
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My daughter can cook eggs, pancakes, grilled sandwiches, and other dishes since she was eight. I light the stove and stay in the kitchen to supervise from a short distance. She has started to do a bit of laundry and clean out her fish tank.
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Old 09-05-2014, 08:10 AM
 
Location: Type 0.7 Kardashev
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It's easy to want to do things for your children so that it 'gets done right'. But part of growing is independence, and they do need to do things themselves.

One notable example that comes to mind is that of college visits.

When I take my two oldest to tour colleges (they're both just starting their senior year in high school), I do not go on the tour with them. This always gets me strange looks from other parents (who are with their kids and who are themselves taking the tour) as well as those providing the tour, who assume me that parents are allowed to come. And I assure them that my child can handle this on his/her own.

Oh, I'm interested in the colleges. And I am there when my advice is sought. I've advised them about what I think is important, and what factors I think they have to weigh. But my kids need to pick their colleges for themselves, and they need to make all the important judgments themselves. I simply think they are better served being let to make those calls rather than having myself or my wife constantly riding shotgun on these life decisions.

I know that it is hard to pull back. It's difficult to know when to give them reign and when to try and guide them this way or that way. But ultimately, they're going to be off and on their own. The ability to choose for themselves, even though they will sometimes make choices that I wish they would not make, is an invaluable skill, and it is best learned gradually rather than suddenly, when they find themselves at college and on their own.
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Old 09-05-2014, 08:21 AM
 
Location: Las Vegas, NV
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I think you're off to a good start OP.... she's still very young so keeping it simple is a good thing.

As meyerland said above simple cooking methods could be good for her to watch you do.

Why not maybe teach her about doing laundry? That's another pretty easy task to teach/learn.
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Old 09-05-2014, 08:40 AM
 
Location: Texas
1,029 posts, read 1,156,591 times
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Those already sound like great things to do. I haven't done repair work with mine yet - I guess I ought to start that.

My 8-year-old has her own alarm clock and is asked to wake up her siblings after she wakes up (she's naturally bossy, at least this way I'm directing it).

She can make a peanut butter and jelly or ham and cheese sandwich on her own. We are working on cracking eggs. She can pack her own lunch, measure wet and dry ingredients, and stir. She will also put pans in the oven and take them out for me (with me still in the kitchen).

She unloads the dishwasher every morning, strips her sheets and puts clean sheets on every weekend, folds laundry (her least favorite chore), cleans the half bath by herself every weekend, and is capable of mopping and sweeping (her second least favorite chores).

My 7 year old is much shorter (can't reach the upper cabinets), but she can do most of the cooking the older child does, unload the silverware in the dishwasher, clean the bathroom counters and toilets, bring all the upstairs trash downstairs, fold clothes, and is terrific at dusting and sweeping.

I'm teaching both girls about money. They have bank accounts and we review the statements every quarter. They get an allowance and we work on budgeting and saving and giving and finding value when we want to spend.

They also get varying levels of "roaming" responsibility. We evaluate once or twice a year how far from the house they are allowed to go without an adult. We're now at about half a mile - a mile for the oldest, half a mile for the middle, and 4 houses down for the 5-year-old.

My children are encouraged to speak up when they want something. That includes asking for a refill at the restaurant, asking a store clerk where the fitting room is, etc. I will speak for them sometimes, but generally I just promise to stand next to them for support while they ask respectfully. And I expect them to make the first attempt to solve problems at school or with their friends before I will offer suggestions or intervene.
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Old 09-05-2014, 09:02 AM
 
6,461 posts, read 6,105,318 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aggiebuttercup View Post
Those already sound like great things to do. I haven't done repair work with mine yet - I guess I ought to start that.

My 8-year-old has her own alarm clock and is asked to wake up her siblings after she wakes up (she's naturally bossy, at least this way I'm directing it).

She can make a peanut butter and jelly or ham and cheese sandwich on her own. We are working on cracking eggs. She can pack her own lunch, measure wet and dry ingredients, and stir. She will also put pans in the oven and take them out for me (with me still in the kitchen).

She unloads the dishwasher every morning, strips her sheets and puts clean sheets on every weekend, folds laundry (her least favorite chore), cleans the half bath by herself every weekend, and is capable of mopping and sweeping (her second least favorite chores).

My 7 year old is much shorter (can't reach the upper cabinets), but she can do most of the cooking the older child does, unload the silverware in the dishwasher, clean the bathroom counters and toilets, bring all the upstairs trash downstairs, fold clothes, and is terrific at dusting and sweeping.

I'm teaching both girls about money. They have bank accounts and we review the statements every quarter. They get an allowance and we work on budgeting and saving and giving and finding value when we want to spend.

They also get varying levels of "roaming" responsibility. We evaluate once or twice a year how far from the house they are allowed to go without an adult. We're now at about half a mile - a mile for the oldest, half a mile for the middle, and 4 houses down for the 5-year-old.

My children are encouraged to speak up when they want something. That includes asking for a refill at the restaurant, asking a store clerk where the fitting room is, etc. I will speak for them sometimes, but generally I just promise to stand next to them for support while they ask respectfully. And I expect them to make the first attempt to solve problems at school or with their friends before I will offer suggestions or intervene.
my child is still too short to unload the dishwasher, you have inspired me about cleaning the bathroom.

It took years of practice, but my kid can now cook on the stovetop without my help although I still stand there and supervise since it's a safety hazard. She can bake, but I get the things out of the oven.
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Old 09-05-2014, 09:34 AM
 
Location: San Antonio, TX
10,864 posts, read 18,917,965 times
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My youngest just turned 9. She's very short but I bought a good stepstool for the kitchen and she's been using it for several years. She can cook, unload the dishwasher, clean the bathrooms (I put the toilet bowl cleaner in, but she does everything else), mop floors, dust and polish furniture, and use the vacuum cleaner. She does those things to help out when asked. Her regular chores are emptying the trash every day and making sure the cans get put down for pickup, and taking care of her pets. I pay her an allowance of $2/week as long as she takes care of the trash without having to be reminded.
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Old 09-05-2014, 10:17 AM
 
Location: Finland
6,319 posts, read 5,230,749 times
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Cooking and cleaning are definitely things to start her doing. My daughter is still very young (3) but she unloads the cutlery from the dishwasher, helps with the cooking and sometimes I'll get her to buy something herself from the shop and I encourage her to ask for herself when she wants to know something from someone else (still a work in progress, she usually asks me to ask for her)

When I was around your daughter's age my mum had me help her with the cooking and whenever she went away she would leave instructions for me to follow for all the meals for the household (dad was hopeless in the kitchen back then).

Another possibility, when you do the food shop have her help you make the shopping list (get her to check the fridge and cupboards with you to see what it is needed) and then she can help in the shop to get the things off the list.
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Old 09-05-2014, 11:37 AM
 
721 posts, read 1,254,385 times
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These are great ideas. I also want my kids to be independent and I am starting to have my oldest (turning 7) count money to make a purchase and ask politely on her own. She also empties the dishwasher, helps with cooking (sandwiches, eggs, etc) unloads the groceries and feeds the dog. She likes to walk the dog but I usually go too with my 5 yr old. I don't give money for doing household chores but I do give her the opportunity to earn money-- for example fill this bag with leaves for $1. Recently I told them I would give them $1 each to wipe the green slime off the white fence.

I would like to give them more responsibility and privileges as they grow so this is helpful to me. I know all kids are different-- my oldest is very resourceful and my youngest needs a good nudge-- but it is good to get ideas. I am letting my daughter cross the street to the bus stop now.

I feel exactly as the OP stated-- I don't just want to be a chauffeur. I want to teach them to care for themselves, teach them to cook and manage money.
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Old 09-05-2014, 12:09 PM
 
2,249 posts, read 1,274,869 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aggiebuttercup View Post
My children are encouraged to speak up when they want something. That includes asking for a refill at the restaurant, asking a store clerk where the fitting room is, etc. I will speak for them sometimes, but generally I just promise to stand next to them for support while they ask respectfully. And I expect them to make the first attempt to solve problems at school or with their friends before I will offer suggestions or intervene.
All of the suggestions made are good ones. I particularly like this one because I also do this with my daughter.

When I think about how to make my daughter independent, I usually think about how to support her so that she can accomplish a task. For example, if I want her to clean her room, I help her categorize everything and then label each category (even on the bookshelf). If I see she is struggling or asking for help often, I will watch her habits and make suggestions to make it more practical.

I used to believe that doing things alone is what independence was about but now I look at it as getting your needs and desires met, with or without people.
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