Tips To Build Confident Kids

We've all seen them and admired them. Those people who are secure in who they are and what they do. It seems like everyone wants to know their secret. Here's where we will share our ideas and tips on how to build confident, resilient children that will grow into confident, resilient adults.

Chores a.k.a. Confidence Builders

- Maria

Six years after my husband and I had our second child, we decided to have one more and our youngest, Nikki, was born. Getting someone to help with the baby was not financially feasible. I realized that the only way it was going to work is if the kids start helping with chores. Rather than waiting until the baby arrived, I started them once we knew we were expecting.

 

Let me start by saying that you will have to adjust your expectation level. And it will take some time before it's done to your liking (years maybe). But if you start them young, teaching them how to put away their toys and keep their room clean (a relative term when it comes to children), it's not so hard to add other duties. And like all chores, you have to make it fun!

So, what chores can an 8 and 5 year old do? You'd be surprised.

 

Kitchen

I had taught my children to bus their plates and flatware once they were excused from the table and at the time, my dishwasher was working, so it was an easy transition. I taught both of them to rinse off the excess food and how to load and run the dishwasher. They loved to do that and would fight over who got to put the little cleaning tablet in the cup. This was easy for them to do. I wanted my kids to be self-sufficient so in the beginning it was just another step in teaching them how to clean up after themselves.

 

Laundry

This is the chore that astounds most people. How did I get an 8 and 5 year old to do their own laundry? You have to do some strategizing otherwise you'll end up with clothes in pink rather than white, and broken plastic bottles with detergent everywhere. I had them bring their laundry to the laundry area and sort it. Three piles, white (your hot water load), bright (pink, bright blues and greens - this is your warm water load), and dark (your cold water load).

 

Here's how we sorted. You grabbed an item (white) and threw it to a corner. From then on, you threw all the whites there. Then you did the same thing with the darks only in a different corner. All you have left is the brights. The kids loved to throw their clothes around. It's a controlled mess with a purpose. 

 

I bought my liquid laundry detergent in bulk with a spigot on it and set it on top of the washer, directly above the drawer it goes in (I have a front loading machine). We put all the whites in the machine, climbed up the 2 step stepladder, pulled out the drawer and dispensed the detergent from the spigot. The detergent drawer has a line for a normal load so I taught them to fill to that line. Closed the drawer, chose the white load program and pressed start. For the brights and the darks, I labeled the programs they would use with labels. It was good practice for my 5 year old who was learning how to read.

Using the dryer is easy. Move the clothes from the washer to the dryer, add a dryer sheet, choose the right program (I labeled what they needed), and press start. Really easy for them to do! 

They called me when the dryer was done and I did all the folding and they put the clothes away. Did they forget to call me? Of course, but you have to pick your battles. In the grand scheme of things, this was minor.

This is not a chore you can just show once and let them go. That's an accident waiting to happen. Doing laundry became a two person job. Me and my child. Were they ready to be left alone when the baby arrived? Not my 5 year old, but my 8 year old... yes! I remember one of the teachers telling me that my 5 year old was saying that he was doing his laundry and she couldn't believe it. When I told her how I had set it up, she was surprised. He certainly couldn't do it himself, he needed help but it really helped with his confidence. Especially when the teacher mentioned it in class!

It was one of the best decisions I ever made. My 8 year old is now 22 and my 5 year old is 19 and they are both out of school, taking care of their business both in and out of the home.

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