Construisez la Confiance de vos Enfants

“Quelles compétences voulez-vous transmettre à vos enfants?”

Ludocatix chore chartC’est ainsi que nous commençons nos ateliers de Discipline Positive et les parents partagent une liste de qualificatifs comme celle-ci:

– Responsabilité
– Autonomie
– L’amour de l’excellence
– Empathie
– Le respect
– Le travail en équipe
– …

Le partage de tâches ménagères vous aide à transmettre ces compétences à vos enfants ET, SIMULTANÉMENT, vous facilite la vie. Ludocatix vous propose un tableau de corvée magnétique que vous et les enfants, ensemble, adaptez à votre style de vie.

Le Saviez-Vous?

Dans un sondage paru dans les Wall Street Journal et mené auprès de 1001 adultes américains, 82% ont déclaré qu’ils avaient des tâches ménagères lorsqu’ils étaient enfants mais seulement 23% ont indiqué qu’ils demandaient à leurs enfants pour les faire.

Que s’est il passé ?

Beaucoup de parents ont l’impression de charger leurs enfants de corvées et de se sentir coupables. Ou ils craignent que les corvées puissent avoir un impact négatif sur leur relation avec leurs enfants. Pourtant, la recherche démontre le contraire.

La recherche indique que les enfants qui font des corvées ont une meilleure estime de soi, sont plus responsables et font mieux face à la frustration ce qui contribue à une plus grande réussite scolaire.

Est-ce que ce ne sont pas les compétences que les parents veulent transmettre à leurs enfants ?

Le cadeau du jour est un tableau magnétique que vous pouvez créer avec vos enfants afin de les aide à se souvenir de leurs tâches ménagères de façon amusante et colorée.

10 Façons dont les Enfants Bénéficient des Corvées

Voici 10 raisons pour lesquelles les corvées sont bonnes pour les enfants … et donc génial pour vous aussi.

  1. Pour aider les enfants à se sentir nécessaire
    Comment définissez-vous votre famille? Que faîtes-vous pour que vos enfants sentent qu’ils font réellement partie de la famille ? Dites aux enfants qu’ils ont un rôle à jouer pour contribuer au bien-être de tous.
  2. Stimuler le gout de l’excellence
    En ce qui concerne les corvées, les parents peuvent voir la qualité du travail et fournir une récompense. “Chérie, est-ce c’est du dentifrice rose que je vois dans l’évier de la salle de bain ?Un lavabo propre est un lavabo brillant et blanc. Montre-moi comment tu l’as nettoyé la dernière fois et nous trouverons une chose que tu peux faire différemment pour faire briller l’évier!”
  3. Ne pas traiter les parents comme des serviteurs
    Lorsque les parents font toutes les corvées, les enfants ont tendance à traiter ces derniers comme des serviteurs dont le but est de satisfaire leurs désirs. Quand les enfants participent aux corvées, leur respect pour leurs parents grandit. Ils ne vont pas traiter maman ou papa comme des serviteurs, parce qu’ils font la même chose! “Chéri(e), nous sommes une famille.  Tout le monde participe.”
  4. Pour enseigner la responsabilité
    Le lave-vaisselle se vide tous les jours. Les déchets sont retirés plusieurs fois par semaine. Nous passons l’aspirateur régulièrement dans le salon. Les tâches ménagères sont des tâches récurrentes et les enfants apprennent l’importance de faire des efforts.
  5. Gérer le temps
    Les corvées nécessitent un peu de temps. Cela prend 5 minutes de mettre la table. 10 minutes pour nettoyer le couloir. 10 minutes pour passer l’aspirateur sous la table à manger. Une corvée régulière nécessite un enfant afin d’intégrer ces corvées dans leur emploi du temps quotidien.
  6. Améliorer les résultats scolaires
    La performance à l’école est souvent liée à des efforts continus et réguliers … tout comme les corvées ménagères. La maîtrise d’un sujet se développe peu à peu avec la pratique quotidienne. Les corvées donnent des résultats immédiats et renforcent ainsi la valeur de cet effort quotidien.
  7. Pour construire l’empathie
    Nous faisons des corvées au profit de tous les membres de la famille, pas seulement pour nous-mêmes. À un âge précoce, les enfants qui font des corvées apprennent à penser et à agir pour les autres.
  8. Construire l’espoir pour leur avenir en tant qu’adult(e)
    Les corvées deviennent vraiment du travail quand elles sont faites seules. Quand les enfants voient leurs parents toujours occupés avec les tâches ménagères et jamais disponibles pour eux, ils créent une vision triste de l’âge adulte : que du travail et pas de plaisir. Pourquoi sortir de l’enfance pour devenir l’esclave du labeur?
  9. Devenir un partenaire plus attractif
    En tant que mère de quatre garçons, je leur rappelle souvent : “ Si vous voulez attirer une femme de valeur, vous ne pouvez pas la traiter comme une servante. Traitez-la comme une femme de valeur! “ Et cela signifie faire votre part des corvées.
  10. Pour être apprécié et reconnu
    Le résultat des corvées est immédiat. Soit la table est mise, soit elle ne l’est pas. Et tout le monde dans la famille sait à qui c’est le tour de mettre la table à manger cette semaine. “ Chérie, c’est un très beau travail de plier les serviettes de cette façon. Je t’en remercie! ”

Finalement, nous n’avons même pas mentionné que les enfants préfèrent une maison propre, ils testent les compétences de négociation (“Est-ce que tu peux  faire la vaisselle pour moi aujourd’hui et demain je passerai l’aspirateur dans l’escalier ?”)

Tableau des corvées

Comment passer de la théorie à la pratique ? Un tableau des corvées aide certainement. Et les cartes magnétiques colorées de Ludocatix le rendent plus facile à utiliser.

Les enfants et les parents travaillent ensemble pour décider qui fait quoi et quand.

Et à mesure que les enfants grandissent que leurs capacités évoluent et que les besoins de votre famille changent, eh bien, déplacez simplement les aimants pour mettre à jour le tableau !

Photo de Frank McKenna sur Unsplash

Boy mopping floor doing chores

Build Kids’ Confidence with Chores

“What life skills do you want to transmit to your children?”

Ludocatix chore chart

This is how we begin our Positive Discipline parenting workshops and invariably parents share a list of traits Thtlike these:

  • Responsibility
  • Autonomy
  • Love of excellence
  • Empathy
  • Respect
  • Teamwork
  • ….

That’s why we love getting kids involved in chores: to transmit these skills to your children AND SIMULTANEOUSLY to make life easier for you.

Check out Ludocatix which creates magnetic chore charts which you and the kids, together, adapt to your home.

Do You Know?

In a survey of 1001 US adults, 82% said they had regular chores growing up but only 23% indicated that they require their children to do them, reports the Wall Street Journal in their article “Why Children Need Chores.”

What happened?

Many parents feel they burden their children with chores and feel guilty.  Or they fear chores could negatively impact their relationship with the kids.  Yet research demonstrates the opposite.

Research indicates that those children who do have a set of chores have higher self-esteem, are more responsible, and are better able to deal with frustration and delay gratification, all of which contribute to greater success in school.

Aren’t those the skills parents desire to pass onto their children?!

Today’s gift, a magnetic chore chart you can create with your children, helps them remember their chores in a fun and colorful way.

10 Ways Children Benefit from Chores

Here are 10 reasons why chores are great for kids…and therefore great for you too.

  1. To help kids feel needed
    How do you define your family?  What helps the kids know that they BELONG.  When a child has a regular chore, the other family members COUNT ON HIM.  He is needed; he has a role to contribute to the well being of all.
  2. To build a love of excellence
    Parents get to encourage quality in work as they observe how well a chore is completed.  They are also able to provide immediate, usable feedback.
    “Honey, is that pink toothpaste I still see on the bathroom sink?  A clean sink is shiny and white.  Show me how you cleaned it last time and we’ll find one thing you can do differently to make the sink glow!”
  3. To not treat parents like the Maid of the Butler
    When parents or house help do all the chores, kids tend to treat those who clean up like…servants whose purpose is to fulfill their desires.  Parents have a higher calling!  When children participate in chores, their respect for parents grows.  They’re not going to treat Mom or Dad like servants, because they do the same thing!
    “Darling, we are a family.  Everyone helps.  It’s what we do.”
  4. To teach responsibility
    The dishwasher gets emptied every day.  The trash gets taken out several times a week.  We vacuum the living room on a regular basis.  Household chores are recurring tasks and children learn to the importance of ongoing maintenance effort.
  5. To manage time
    Chores require a little bit of time.  It takes 5 minutes to set the table.  10 minutes to declutter the front hallway.  10 minutes to vacuum under the dining table.  A regular chore requires a child to integrate these few minutes into their daily schedule.
  6. To improve school grades
    Performance at school is often related to ongoing, regular effort…just like chores.  Mastery of a subject grows little bit with daily practice.   Chores show immediate results and thus reinforce the value of this daily effort.
  7. To build empathy
    We do chores for the benefit of everyone in the family, not just for ourself.  At an early age, chore-doing children get to learn to think of and act for others.
  8. To build hope for the future
    Chores truly become burdensome when they are done alone.  When children see their parents always busy with household tasks and not available to play, they create a sad vision of adulthood: all work, no fun.  Why grow out of child-like behavior if it’s to become a slave to toil?
  9. To become a more attractive partner
    As the mother of four boys, I remind them, “If you want to attract a woman of value, you can’t treat her like a maid.  Treat her like a woman of value!”  And that means doing your share of the chores.
  10. To be appreciated & affirmed
    The result of chores is immediate.  Either the table is set or it is not.  And everyone in the family knows who’s turn it is to prepare the table for dinner this week.
    “Sweetheart, that’s a lovely job folding the napkins this way.  Thank you!”
    “Today we can thank Joe for the clean hallway.  Thanks, darling.  I really appreciate not tripping over backpacks.”

And we have not even mentioned that kids enjoy a cleaner home, they learn motor skills, they test negotiation skills (“Can you do the dishwasher for me today and I’ll vacuum the stairs for you tomorrow?”) and soooo much more.

Chore Charts

How to move from theory to practice?  A chore chart sure helps.  And Ludocatix’s colorful magnetic charts make it easy.

Children and parents work together to decide who does what when.

And as the children grow and their abilities evolve and your family needs change, well, just move the magnets around to update the chart!

Photo by Frank McKenna on Unsplash

Surprised and joyful boy

Welcome surprises and encourage learning

 Today’s Gifts on the Joy. Peace. Love. @ Home advent calendar for parents

One My Little Box & One My Gambettes Box
from My Little Paris 

How to receive these gifts?  Take the fun quiz on the Parent Advent Calendar today and you could be the lucky ones to win the draw.

My Little Paris graces the life of 100 000 people worldwide with their monthly themed boxes.  My Little Box reveals beauty products and lifestyle accessories and the Gambettes Box unveils 2 totally chic and unique legwear every month.

  

My Little Paris chooses it’s monthly themes with care so that surprise even means continuity, not chaos, so that you can fully delight in them.

November’s Box brought comfort, the kind you seek when lounging on a Sunday.  Comfort for the face, the hands, for fun and for food.

Gambettes Box took an intellectual turn with leaf designs as you leaf through your books at the Sorbonne Library!

And December? Can’t unveil that box yet…or it would not be a surprise!

learn through surprise and trust

Invite Surprise @ Home = Relinquish some Control

“It’s been known for a long time that it’s unexpected events in particular that drive learning,” asserts Wael Asaad, assistant professor of neurosurgery at Brown University.

How about surprising the children, especially one that seems reticent to learn, with responsibility. 

“Are you sure?” parents respond.

Many of the mothers and fathers who attend our workshops seek predictability.  Control.  Yet they find it slipping away.

As one father puts it, “The more I try to keep the kids in control, the more out of control I feel.”

Your Relationship-Building Surprise

Why not try a once-a-month relationship-building surprise. 🙂

Consider the “Smooth Morning Out the Door with a Smile” Theme

Select a Date

This is an exceptional event.  Put it on the calendar for everyone to look forward to.  Choose a weekend morning when there is less pressure to be on time.

Who wants to be in charge?

Invite a child to have the responsibility of getting out the door on time to a child.  “Who would like to Be In Charge?”

Consider offering this to your most “problematic-in-the-morning” child.  You’ll be surprised at ALL OF THE LEARNING you’ll do…and together!

 Prepare when you are calm

With the date set in advance, you can help your child prepare.

Your child both knows and does not know what to do.  Help her formalize the routine.  “What needs to happen so that we get out the door well?”

Make it like a brainstorming together.

  • “Honey, what do you want to remember for your ‘Morning I’m In Charge’?”
  • “Remind me what needs to get done in the morning before we go…. Yes, we do need to choose clothes. Could that be done the night before or do we HAVE TO DO IT with blurry eyes?… You decide.  You’re in charge.”

Gather Helpful Tools

“Darling, what could help you get the job done? 
A buzzer to keep track of time?
A meeting of the family the night before where you remind everyone of what they have to do?
Waking up earlier?” 

Let your child choose.  She’s in charge.

Be a Gracious Follower

Remember the first times you prepared your babe to go out and forgot the extra diaper and the pacifier fell in the mud and….

Your child will probably face challenges and could even get frustrated because she has HIGH expectations.

Be the first one to behave as requested. Do what is asked of you…and try to refrain from doing more.

Allow your child to experience the challenge of herding a group out the door.  THIS FRUSTRATION is part of the prize.

Once your children realize how much effort is required, they become more understanding and cooperative with you. ????

Review and Improve

“So, darling, what went well?”

Invite their self-evaluation and offer a few genuine positive observations as well.

Maybe it felt like a fiasco.  Did you get out the door?  Then share that.  “Honey, we got out the door!”

Ask your child what she would like to do differently next time.  Help keep it specific.  If she asks you, offer ONE idea for change.  Specific means doable, which means she could succeed next time.

One Mom’s Story

“Our second son was so contrarian.  I felt like we were in a perpetual power struggle.  By the time we got out the door in the morning, I was ready for a nap!

We tried this Mom-Son role switch.

Mr. Rebel was delighted. ”You’ll let ME be in charge, Mom?!”

He became a new person, Mr. Responsible, being conscientious with his job.  In the middle of the preparation he realized this was work.  “Can we switch back, Mom, and I’ll be the kid again?”

We encouraged him to follow through to the end.

The experience transformed our every day morning ritual.  Firstly, the morning routine was clear in everyone’s mind.  Our previously challenging son because the first one ready.”

smiling teenager with parents

10 Skills Teens Need to Succeed

When your child leaves home, replacing the school book bag with the briefcase, what skills do you want him to master?

French boys off to school

Probably reading, writing, and arithmetic.

Yet when we ask this question in our Positive Discipline parenting classes, moms and dads don’t even mention the 3R’s.  Parents focus directly on the Soft Skills like

Confidence.

Search for excellence.

Tolerance.

Wise Decision-Making.

Where are the Teens with Skills to Thrive?

Employers agree these are the traits that lead to success.  They also lament that entry level students lack Soft-Skill-Savvy.

PayScale, the largest salary level database in the world, reports a major disconnect between what employers seek in their entry level students and what universities teach.  A whopping 50-55% of college graduates are either unemployed or underemployed!

The skills employers seek are the hardest to find as per the Employment Gap study by Millenial Branding & Experience, Inc.

Employable skills, where art thou?!

Students may have mastered Algebra and Molecular Biology, but they’re tottering in Teamwork and Self-Management.

Teens are concerned and so are their parents.  That’s why Harvard Business School alumni who are also parents listened in on Marie Schwartz, founder and CEO of TeenLife, as she presented the 10 Skills Teens Need to Succeed.  (The slide above is from her material)

Here is Schwartz’s list of Skills to Succeed:

  1. Drive/passion
  2. Independence/Self-Management
  3. Time-Management/Prioritization
  4. Interpersonal Skills
  5. Cultural Awareness
  6. Verbal & Written Communication
  7. Teamwork & Collaboration
  8. Critical Thinking/Problem-Solving
  9. Technical Know-How
  10. Grit/Determination

 

How will our children learn these skills to thrive?

The way you and I parent matters.

Even with the best intentions, we moms and dads can alienate our teens (and teach them to reject our values)…or we can connect with them and give ourselves a chance to keep training our kids in positive skills.

Our parental responses teach our kids.  What will they learn?

Teen lessons: “I better not get caught next time.” & “Am I REALLY capable?”

OR

smiling teenager with parents
Teen lessons: “I am loved even when I’m not perfect.” & “I’ll do my best to be worthy of their trust.”

 

I don’t have time to teach these skills!

Too much on your plate already?

It’s not a matter of “adding to your plate.” Try doing some of the same tasks DIFFERENTLY.

Here’s an example (and one day I will write 5 ways to Teach Teen Skills without Taking more Time)

    1. Build Confidence through a Household Chore
      The children are needed and the family counts on them. “Darling, I NEED my table setter to do his job BEFORE the beans burn!”
    2. Teach Respect & Humility through another Household Chore (!)
      It’s hard to treat Mom like the maid when the kids vacuum too!
    3. Practice Teamwork through…a Family Team Clean!!! (on the SoSooper App)
      Intentionally develop a culture of collaboration. “Family helps family. It’s what we do.”
    4. Encourage Love of Excellence & Self-Evaluation by Inspecting the Household Chore
      “An O.K. job of cleaning the sink is when there are no pink toothpaste smudges. A super clean sink has shiny chrome.  What quality job have you done?”
    5. Instill Self-Management by kindly and firmly insisting on Household Chore…
      “Sweetheart, we said you may play with you friends WHEN the laundry is folded. How is the laundry now?  (in the dryer) Then you know what to do.”

    (You guessed that I believe in inviting the children to participate in household tasks.)

    Transmitting life skills to kids requires parent passion and grit more than it requires money or even time.

    Transmitting life skills to kids requires parent passion and grit more than money or even time. Click to Tweet

    Where and how to start?

    That’s where parent coaching can come in handy

    • To identify the family-helping tasks that truly make life easier for the parents AND are age-appropriate for the kids
    • To share ways to on-board the children so that they feel engaged and want to participate
    • To get YOUR reminders remember to follow through the children
    • To learn tools to present your requests so that children listen
    • To follow through effectively and avoiding power struggles

    Drop us a line

Girl doing laundry

When chores help build strong relationships

Today, the Louvre museaum exceptionally closed its doors to protect its treasures.

Rain, rain, go away.  It’s been raining in France for weeks.  The Seine river is overflowing, and muddy water oozes into homes…and even into the treasure-storing basement of the Louvre Museum, the most visited museaum in the world.

There is a parallel for our families:  How could we parents protect our emotional treasures such as our relationships?  

This family built strong relationships by turning “Chore Time” into “One-on-One Time” and generated more “Free Time” for everyone to enjoy together.

Relationship warning signs

What are your and my family treasures? How are you and I preserving them?

My most precious resources are relationships and time.  Time flies.  Love lasts.

But let’s be practical.  There are 24 hours in a day and too much to do in that limited time.

And the most tension-filled moments often involve the kids!

  • Getting them out the door in the morning
  • Managing bath, homework, and cooking dinner simultaneously
  • Tucking the children into bed when I’m exhausted myself

Oh, oh.

Beware of tell-tale signs of flooding of feelings when tears flow hard and anger spurts in spouts.

Feelings overload
Feelings overload!

It’s O.K.  What if these moments when we feel close to failure are really invitations to step back and re-assess?

I realized I was doing all the work around the house while my husband was still in the office and the kids were playing.

How could this change?

The easiest fix lay in delegating chores to the kids.

Chart with chores for kids
Simple chore chart with pictures of children doing their chores. Clips with initials indicates who does what & rotate every week.

Create a Chore Chart that Works for YOU

We set up a simple system using a chore chart to facilitate communication and accountability.  We selected four tasks, one per child, to be completed daily for one whole week.   Then the children rotated jobs.

Four boys = Four delegated chores.

(Read more about Chore Charts and how to make them work for you here)

Quality One-on-One Time Doing Chores

To my utmost surprise, chore time presented myriads of opportunities for one-on-one exchanges.

As the mother of four children I often felt guilty for not spending time with each child on a regular basis.  I couldn’t find the “extra” time.

By delegating chores, every evening, one child and I would be work side by side for a few moments in the kitchen.  We learned to make them precious.

As Table-Setter-of-the-Week  laid out the forks and knives, I would learn about the boxing match during recess…from his perspective.

Between spinning salad and slicing carrots we explored ways to make up with his friend or to avoid bullies.

Another pair of hands might venture into Kitchen Territory during these discussions to be greeted with, “We’re having a Rendez-Vous.  Please come back later.”

The other kids left us alone, knowing that as they honored the sibling’s “Rendez-Vous”, they would benefit from the same respect in turn.

Opportunities for Gratitude and Encouragement

Inspecting our children’s work presented another opportunity for relationships boosting.

Are you too the type of parent who asks the kids to do things…and forgets to mention anything when the children follow through?

When I began to intentionally check on the quality of the children’s chores, our family grew both in appreciation of each other and in jobs well done.

“I noticed you emptied the trash without my having to remind you.”

“This table is so neatly set.  It looks welcoming.  Thank you.”

[bctt tweet=”In verifying the children’s efforts, I expressed gratitude and my behavior became a model for them.”]

We also engaged in conversations about “quality of work,” noting the difference between emptying the dishwasher carefully or breaking plates in the process!

In checking chores we FIRST noted what was done well…as the children warmed up to chores they openned to learning how to improve. Together, we sought the best for everyone.

More Free Time

Less chores for mom translated into more time for playing cards after dinner and reading stories at bedtime. 🙂

Mom playing cards with kids
Work together more. Play together more!

Keeping Relationships Precious

How are you making time to bond with your child?

You might not need additional hours to your day…just another way to use the hours you and your children share together.

Your attitude sets the mind frame of your children.

“Chores” can have many definitions.  It can mean work.  Chores definitely signify sharing, quality time, gratitude, and encouragement.

Discover here Home Is Fun’s ways to get children to WANT their chores!

 

Cover photo by Nik MacMillan & emotionas by Cassidy Kelley on Unsplash.

Encourage Appropriate Behavior in Kids: Parenting Tips inspired by Snow!

It has been snowing all week.  Every day.  All day.  Every night.

We go to the mountains to have snow, but deeeeep down, here is my real wish:  I awake every morning to optimal ski conditions.  Abracadabra.

Snow fall, ski slope grooming, and snow plowing would have all happened during my sleep 🙂

Do parents have a similar wish for their children’s good behavior?

Mom or Dad ask for a clean room.  Like magic children’s toys are put away, the floor in spotless, the books are neatly stacked on the bookshelves, the bed is made, and the desk is cleared and ready-for-work.  “Aussitôt dit.  Aussitôt fait.”  Say the word, and it’s done.  Just to our liking, no less!

No need for any teaching, training, or follow through!

We moms and dads must have received our parenting tips straight Mary Poppins and Nanny MacFee.  Or maybe our children were born with an innate understanding of what parents consider appropriate behavior…

Ski cabin "Shelter" in snow
“Abri” means shelter

Children skiing and falling in snow

Cars covered in snow

Appropriate Behavior – Down to Earth Parenting Reality

Just as we adults benefit from training in our jobs, children benefit from training in order to be able to behave well.

[bctt tweet=”Like adults who get training in our jobs, children benefit from training in order to  perform well. “]

Think about it.  Did our sons and daughters clean their room in the womb?  Did our babes learn proper table manners at the breast?

We parents often teach through discipline.  We tell our kids what is wrong.  “Your room is messy.”  “Elbows off the table, please.”    

How do they find out what is desirable behavior?  Is there a more appropriate and encouraging way than through trial and error?

Would you like your boss to keep on telling you, “NO,” until you get it right?  How motivating is that?!

Snow Inspired Parenting Tips for Teaching Kids

1. Enjoy the magic of NOW

Earth stills when snow falls. 

Sounds are muted.  Senses are chilled.  Worries from the office seem faaaaaarrrrrr away.

These extraordinary apprenticeship years of our kids are precious and last such a short while.   Sooner than later our kids graduate and move out.

What life skills and talents do our children take with them as they go out on their own?  THIS is our parenting vocation.

My mother is celebrating a BIG birthday and we are writing her letters of thanks.  I realized that I have many more memories with her AFTER having left home than while I was a child.

The birthday parties I recall through photos.

Here is what I remember through experience and which lives in my soul:  the ambiance of love, the assurance that she had time for me, and her belief in my potential (especially when I acted out of line).

These qualities are communicated by savoring the present.  The magic of small successes.  Noticing appropriate behavior.  Appreciating hard work.  Encouraging me to persevere.

Aren’t those life skills you wish to pass onto your darlings?

Happy grandma cuddling children

Loving grandmother keeps grandkids coming home

 

Admiring grandmother taking photos

2. Slow down before crashing

I love skiing FAST.

Except when there is no visibility and I wonder if I am about to speedily crash and plant my face into fresh powder.

When it snows, it is time to slow down.  Just a tad.

When your child misbehaves, might it be an invitation to shift into a lower gear? 

  • What is the cause of the inappropriate behavior?
  • Do the children even know exactly what is expected of them?
  • Do they have the capability of carrying out those tasks?
  • What could help them succeed even better?

In manufacturing circles, we refer to a bottleneck: THE operation that slows the entire process down.

No matter how much we improve other aspects of the manufacturing cycle, the process will only improve when we address THAT critical juncture.

Where is the weak point in your child’s ability to carry out your request?  Slowing down helps you observe your sweethearts and identify their appropriate behavior “bottleneck.”

Are they not listening to instructions?

That’s a sure guarantee of misbehavior!  So, the parenting issue to address is getting their attention before giving instructions.

Bend down to their level, make eye contact, smile, and THEN stipulate, “Honey, it is time to clean your room.”

Do the toys not have a home?

Playthings are tumbled into a box.  To reach that one desired game, your child rummages through the entire stack (a.k.a. dumps them all over the floor).  The issue is too many toys or finding a better way to store games.

“Sweetheart, you like a comfy home.  Your toys want to be more comfortable too.  Here are two boxes: toys-at-home and toys-on-vacation.  Do you want to choose which toys go on vacation this week or should I?  YOU can change every weekend!”

Slowing down helps identify your child’s unique bottleneck.

3. Break down the big job into smaller steps.

When it snows, visibility is reduced which renders many skiers less comfortable on the slopes.  That’s when we CONSCIOUSLY rely on ski technique:  bending down further to propel us through the turns in heavy snow, maintaining supple knees to  absorb obstacles we no longer see, keeping our body weight correctly balanced over the skis…

Many of these gestures we do without thinking…until it snows and we once again recall and apply our technique.

In a similar way, when training the kids, why not break down a large task into its many smaller bits.

If our initial instructions (ex. clean your room) seems foggy to the kids, let us help them return to their comfort zone by reviewing the individual steps required for success of the total “project” (and securing appropriate behavior can seem like a PROJECT).

A clean room means

  • Nothing on the floor
  • The bed is made…and nothing is hiding under it
  • Clothes are put in the appropriate drawers
  • Toys and books are placed their assigned home
  • The desk has space to be able to work correctly

Appropriate room cleaning behavior: make bed

Appropriate room cleaning behavior: stack books

Appropriate room cleaning behavior: clear desk

Think of our children’s tasks like a gourmet dish.  There is a recipe to follow.  Step by step.

If it’s good enough for the best chefs in the world, I’ll give it a go in our home too 🙂

4. Specify the criteria for “acceptable behavior” and “very well done.”

After snowfall, some slopes get plowed and others are left virgin.  Different strokes for different folks.

A good skier can master the smooth surfaces even with minimal visibility.  An excellent skier dances through the powder.

“Sweetheart, a cleanish room is when the bed is made and the clothes are off the floor.  A super-dooper-totally-awesomely-amazingly-clean room is when you also put your socks in the sock drawer, your shirts in the shirt drawer….”

5. Celebrate performance

A steaming hot chocolate and warm (greasy) fries taste especially delicious when coming in from difficult ski conditions.

“Darling.  Well done.”

Teen boys and kids warming up from skiing

Upon leaving our mountain chalet, we clean up.  Kids help with the chores.  During one vacation with my sister and her family, our Make-A-Loud-Fuss son resisted doing his job:  to clean the bathroom sink & mirror.

She taught him the secret to super-shiny-bathroom-cleaning (Spray the chrome with window cleaner.  It sparkles!) and off he went.

He made the chrome sparkle.

My sister rounded up the crew of siblings and cousins and they ALL marched to the bathroom to recognize a job well done.

Since that day, Mr.Fuss REQUESTS bathroom cleaning.  He is the recognized family expert on appropriate bathroom cleanliness.  We have delegated to him the responsibility of coaching his brothers on quality control.

That’s a win-win situation!

Children parade to congratulate appropriate behavior
Ready? Set. Go! checking out the spotless bathroom.

Children parade to check out clean bathroom

Proud teen and admiring brother
Our cool dude still takes pride in “clean.”

Helping our Kids Learn Appropriate Behavior

How would you and your family’s life be different if you took a fresh look at a “bad news” situation?

  • What one special thing can you appreciate about this time of life right NOW?
  • What is REALLY happening? Slowing down enables fresh observation.
  • What behavior do you, the parent, desire? What are intermediate steps?
  • How can you help your children differentiate between good and great?
  • How will you encourage REPEATED excellent behavior?
Boy mopping floor doing chores

Build Kids’ Confidence with Chores

Today’s Gift on the Joy. Peace. Love. @ Home advent calendar for parents

1 magnetic Chore Chart for parents & kids together
from Ludocatix  

How to receive this gift?  Take the fun quiz on the Parent Advent Calendar today and you could be the lucky one to win the draw.

“What life skills do you want to transmit to your children?”

This is how we begin our Positive Discipline parenting workshops and invariably parents share a list of traits like these:

  • Responsibility
  • Autonomy
  • Love of excellence
  • Empathy
  • Respect
  • Teamwork
  • ….

Today’s gift helps you transmit these skills to your children AND SIMULTANEOUSLY make life easier for you.  Ludocatix offers you a magnetic chore chart which you and the kids, together, adapt to your home.

PHOTO

Do You Know?

In a survey of 1001 US adults, 82% said they had regular chores growing up but only 23% indicated that they require their children to do them, reports the Wall Street Journal in their article “Why Children Need Chores.”

What happened?

Many parents feel they burden their children with chores and feel guilty.  Or they fear chores could negatively impact their relationship with the kids.  Yet research demonstrates the opposite.

Research indicates that those children who do have a set of chores have higher self-esteem, are more responsible, and are better able to deal with frustration and delay gratification, all of which contribute to greater success in school.

Aren’t those the skills parents desire to pass onto their children?!

Today’s gift, a magnetic chore chart you can create with your children, helps them remember their chores in a fun and colorful way.

10 Ways Children Benefit from Chores

Here are 10 reasons why chores are great for kids…and therefore great for you too.

  1. To help kids feel needed
    How do you define your family?  What helps the kids know that they BELONG.  When a child has a regular chore, the other family members COUNT ON HIM.  He is needed; he has a role to contribute to the well being of all.
  2. To build a love of excellence
    Parents get to encourage quality in work as they observe how well a chore is completed.  They are also able to provide immediate, usable feedback.
    “Honey, is that pink toothpaste I still see on the bathroom sink?  A clean sink is shiny and white.  Show me how you cleaned it last time and we’ll find one thing you can do differently to make the sink glow!”
  3. To not treat parents like the Maid of the Butler
    When parents or house help do all the chores, kids tend to treat those who clean up like…servants whose purpose is to fulfill their desires.  Parents have a higher calling!  When children participate in chores, their respect for parents grows.  They’re not going to treat Mom or Dad like servants, because they do the same thing!
    “Darling, we are a family.  Everyone helps.  It’s what we do.”
  4. To teach responsibility
    The dishwasher gets emptied every day.  The trash gets taken out several times a week.  We vacuum the living room on a regular basis.  Household chores are recurring tasks and children learn to the importance of ongoing maintenance effort.
  5. To manage time
    Chores require a little bit of time.  It takes 5 minutes to set the table.  10 minutes to declutter the front hallway.  10 minutes to vacuum under the dining table.  A regular chore requires a child to integrate these few minutes into their daily schedule.
  6. To improve school grades
    Performance at school is often related to ongoing, regular effort…just like chores.  Mastery of a subject grows little bit with daily practice.   Chores show immediate results and thus reinforce the value of this daily effort.
  7. To build empathy
    We do chores for the benefit of everyone in the family, not just for ourself.  At an early age, chore-doing children get to learn to think of and act for others.
  8. To build hope for the future
    Chores truly become burdensome when they are done alone.  When children see their parents always busy with household tasks and not available to play, they create a sad vision of adulthood: all work, no fun.  Why grow out of child-like behavior if it’s to become a slave to toil?
  9. To become a more attractive partner
    As the mother of four boys, I remind them, “If you want to attract a woman of value, you can’t treat her like a maid.  Treat her like a woman of value!”  And that means doing your share of the chores.
  10. To be appreciated & affirmed
    The result of chores is immediate.  Either the table is set or it is not.  And everyone in the family knows who’s turn it is to prepare the table for dinner this week.
    “Sweetheart, that’s a lovely job folding the napkins this way.  Thank you!”
    “Today we can thank Joe for the clean hallway.  Thanks, darling.  I really appreciate not tripping over backpacks.”

And we have not even mentioned that kids enjoy a cleaner home, they learn motor skills, they test negotiation skills (“Can you do the dishwasher for me today and I’ll vacuum the stairs for you tomorrow?”) and soooo much more.

Chore Charts

How to move from theory to practice?  A chore chart sure helps.  And Ludocatix’s colorful magnetic charts make it easy.

Children and parents work together to decide who does what when.

And as the children grow and their abilities evolve and your family needs change, well, just move the magnets around to update the chart!

“Help! I’m Losing It!” Article from Message Magazine

It’s a delight to share the excerpt of my article from the fall 2015 edition of the Message Magazine.  Enjoy!

Help!  I’m “Losing It!”

“It was automagic, Mom…”

According to my four sons, spilled milk is automagic, so are the bite marks on a sibling’s arm, and so is my teen’s phone battery that runs out just as I call him.

How to respond to kids’ “béttises” (misbehaviors)?  To laugh?  To cry?  To scream!

The 80/20 rule I learned in business school–which says that 80% of outcomes result from 20% of inputs—also applied to my parenting:  the vast majority of challenges were addressed with the same tool: my voice.  I spoke instructions, then raised my voice to unresponsive children, and ultimately just “lost it.”

In the business world, this management practice is called re-investing in a losing strategy.

At home, this behavior was considered “normal.”

Something had to change.  What?  And how?

I first tried to change other people:  to shrink the kids and to tweak my husband.  It eventually dawned on me to try and influence the one person over whom I had a semblance of control:  moi.

It’s like I finally started walking the yellow brick road in the direction of Home Sweet Home, a path I could travel with other “sooper” (phenomenal and perfectly imperfect) parents, where I could gain a fresh perspective on life and success, and we could empower each other to be our best.

When Kids Take Your Life by Storm…Hold onto the Buoy of Positive Discipline!

Has the arrival of kids taken your life by storm (and dropped you in the middle of Paris)?  Join the club.  Maybe the clouds will simply blow away…  Until then, try stepping out of the fury.

That’s the relief I received from Positive Discipline, an approach to building respectful and collaborative relationships.  I took a class, got hooked, and now lead workshops to help parents apply these principles for healthy relationships. Based on the work of Austrian psychiatrists Alfred Adler and Rudolf Dreikurs, Positive Discipline is a model for teaching young people to become responsible, respectful and resourceful contributors to society. Jane Nelsen and Lynn Lott adapted these principles into an interactive curriculum, and their books have sold millions …because the approach does wonders to transform home life.  It’s, like, automagic!

With Positive Discipline we first focus on…well, our own focus.  Are we looking for blame or for solutions?  How can we transform recurring challenges into opportunities to nurture respect, resilience, gratitude, love of excellence, and intimacy?

A wide array of Positive Discipline tools empower us to smoothly manage the daily issues:  power struggles, undue demands for attention, sibling rivalry, repetition-repetition-repetition, and more.  Additionally, these parenting “ruby slippers” hit the target with the needs of moms and dads in the Internet-age where our 2.0 youth expect to contribute to and impact their environment.

Positive Discipline works with teens as well as tots of 2.0 years.  Here’s how we applied the Adlerian principle of Firm and Kind to the family job, Get-Out-the-Door-on-Time-for-School-and-Work-With-a-Smile.  Firmness points to respecting the parental structure, such as the non-negotiability of timely departure.  Kindness refers to respect of the child’s perspective, like considering their input in the process.  Part of the Positive Discipline wonder lies in simultaneously respecting kids, mom & pop.

Positive Routine Tool for Parents & Kids Together

Positive RoutinesWe created Positive Routines, a photo-reportage of the priority tasks for leaving on time.  At work this would be called a job description communicated via Power Point.  At home, we call it fun, practical, and empowering.  It’s the process that renders the tool so effective.  First, we sat down to enumerate the multiple tasks needed to get done before walking out the door.  Deep discussion ranged from, “We gotta wake up!” to “Make our beds ?!?!” and “Brush our teeth…No, I already do that at night.” This is brainstorming time; let the ideas flow…especially from the children.  They know what needs doing; they have heard you say it over and over again.

Next we decided together which tasks NEED doing in the morning, when we feel groggy and possibly move slowly, and which ones can be completed the night before.  We classified “Getting parent’s signature,” “Getting school stuff ready,” and “Choosing clothes” among the evening jobs.

Finally, we put it into practice.  What liberty for me!  When the tykes came complaining that their bathing suits were still wet (and now smelling) from last week’s swimming class, I could truly sympathize AND remind them that we wash swimwear the night before.  Discomfort is a bummer, but not the end of their world.  Repeating myself again and again is the end of my sanity.  You bet they remembered the following week :).

These Positive Routine Picto’s also helped my husband and I coordinate our messages.  At first he questioned this process…until the week we had several morning signature requests.  The kids turned to their Dad for these because they knew I merely pointed to the Positive Routine Picto and gladly accepted to sign their paper that evening.  Finally he burst out, “No more signing in the morning for me either!”  The kids accepted it.  After all, these were their rules too.

These Positive Routine Picto’s were such a success that I developed a workshop specifically to bring parents and children together to create their own.  In these photos I love how one child revels in the full attention from all of the family members and how the boys and girls proudly display THEIR routines.  Parents shared delightful feedback.  One girl was showing hers off to a friend, who then told her mom, and the friend’s mom requested to take it home.  Another shared how, after the good-night routine, she noticed the light switch back on in her 3 year old’s room.  “Mommy, I forgot to choose my clothes for tomorrow.”

Our boys are now growing up and leaving home.  It’s a thrill and a solace to see them go forward with the life skills they need to make a life and a living.   And they tell it to me straight:  “Mom, when you stopped trying to be perfect, that’s when you were a great mom.”

May you and yours keep growing and growing together.

 

Denise Dampierre is the author of www.home-is-fun.com blog, a Harvard MBA, the mother of 4 boys, a trainer in Positive Discipline, and an American still married to a Frenchman after 20+ years!  She would be delighted to answer your questions on Positive Discipline (denise@home-is-fun.com).  You can also find out more on the associations’ sites:  www.positivediscipline.com in English and  www.disciplinepositive.fr in French.  This fall, Denise will be leading parenting classes in both English and in French.  You can also find her training professionals on building healthy relationships using these same positive principles.  After all, “People make the world go round” both at home and at work.