All posts tagged homework

Be Patient. Your Child is Remarkable.

This is a personal story and for those of you who know or have been following me, you know that I don’t share much outside of the classroom, and can appreciate that this is a rare occurrence. However, I think sometimes those of us with older kids, can share a bit of our experience to help younger parents along the parenting path. I know how much I cherished hearing about the ups and downs from the parents I respected who had older kids.

So Here Goes

Brady SlidingOur youngest son has always marched to his own drum. He is a maverick of sorts. He does not care in the least if people are mad at him, he isn’t easily influenced by the normal social pressures. He trusts himself more than anyone else, he never complains, blames, or makes excuses. He owns his mistakes and his successes. He is nearly impossible to read, but has a gentle and giving heart that is easily broken by injustice. I was one of those parents who thought it would be super cool to have a kid like Brady, until I actually got one and then I was like “what the hell do I do now?’ because none of the rules, none of the guidelines, none of the strategies work to influence this kid.  So, I did what I always do – I put all my eggs in two baskets. The first was on maintaining and cultivating a healthy, respectful relationship with him and the second was to foster his independence in any way I could and that meant backing off – which (if you know me, you know) isn’t easy for me.

Determined Resolve

Before I get to the punch line, here is a little background. School came easily to Brady. He figured out by the 5th or 6th grade that he could just listen in class, or read the assignment without ever doing the homework and pull an A on his tests. He determined early on that if he could understand the material and prove that by acing the tests and contributing to class discussion, it didn’t make sense for him to do the homework, so he didn’t. Of course this caused chaos at school. We were told that he HAD to do the homework, that his grades were based on the completion of homework. We argued, but in the end, we lost that battle. We tried to convince Brady to play the game as it wouldn’t take him long to knock off the homework, but he wouldn’t budge. In the end we backed him up and told his teachers they would have to find a way to work with Brady. They could ether find a way to motivate him, punish him for his decision or decide that understanding the material was more important than passing in homework.

We had hoped that by early high school he would change his attitude and decide that it was worth doing the homework if it meant getting in to a reputable college and qualifying for some serious scholarship money. In fact, in some of our dreams we imagined him going on to get his Masters and then a PhD and then perhaps teaching at a prestigious college. By the end of his sophomore year, we were living firmly in reality and in senior year he announced that he was done with his formal education and would be leaving school. GULP. He talked and we listened and we knew that his decision was made. We were not going to fight with him and so we agreed that if he was willing to get his GED and take the SATs on the off chance that one day he might want to go to college, he would have our support. And so he did and at 17-years-old he left for a four-month trek in Nepal. (Read more about this experience – here.)

Nepal to California

He relished his time in Nepal and on returning he promptly packed a suitcase and announced that he was moving from our small town in Vermont to Berkley, CA to live with his older brother. Wow. We were shocked, and a bit disheartened that he hadn’t changed his mind about college and yet, just a wee bit hopeful that when he got to Berkley and was surrounded by all those intellectuals, that his passion for learning would kick in and he would announce that he was applying to a University. Nope. He wasn’t interested in anything other than working and playing, but mostly working – in kitchens. Any kitchen. He started off at Subway because that is all he could get and he wasn’t even 18-years-old. He moved from there to a little diner that served mediocre diner food. He picked up a second job and began working between 60 and 80 hours a week. He didn’t have a car so he hoofed it, rode a bike, got a taxi or took the BART. No college, but industrious as hell. Other than getting mugged a few times he didn’t ask us for anything. He managed his finances, his friends, his family, his leisure time, his hours and his work schedule.

At about 20-years-old he hit the wall. He was tired, discouraged and well, confused. We talked and he pitched the idea of going to culinary school. Why YES, yes indeed, what a great idea. And so we jumped through hoops, he enrolled and just when it was time to send in the tuition check, he let us know that he wasn’t going. He let us know that he had pulled himself out of his funk and had found a new job he was excited about and that would be his culinary education, in the trenches like so many other chefs before him. We were deflated but not defeated. This kid is resilient. No, he is more than that, he is everything a person can be who can get up off the floor, battered and bruised and move himself into a new and exciting adventure with not a single look back. Remarkable to behold.

My Parenting Goal

I have said for years, that when I was parenting I had one goal in mind. That goal was to ensure I did everything I could to enhance the relationship I had with my kids so that when they were adults, and they had the choice to call and share big news with me, they would call because they wanted to, not because they felt obliged to.

Brady is now 22-years-old and a few days ago he called with big news. He had just left an interview for a sous-chef position with a four-star restaurant in the Bay area and he wanted to share his excitement with me. He was on the BART traveling home and so we texted back and forth. Me with my questions and he with his excitement at the possibility of working in a stellar restaurant with a more than decent salary and the potential to become a head chef by the time he was 25-years-old. I cried as I typed. I thanked every force out in the Universe that helped me stay true to parenting Brady in the only way that made sense for him. I thanked all those parents with older kids who kept encouraging me to trust him, to let him pave the way and for me to follow quietly behind. It wasn’t always easy. In fact, he challenged me in a way none of my other kids did. I am surely a better parent and person because of him.

Be their Champion

So here’s the punch – you, parent out there, reading this crazy blog, you are living with children, who are remarkable. Right now, just as they are. Whether they are making you crazy or pushing you to your limits and making you shake your head because you cannot figure them out. Trust me when I say, your kids know what they are doing. It may not look like it to you and me, but these kids know and if we can stand behind them and be their champion, they will surely share this adventure with us and it will make all the uncertainty and confusion and chaos worth it.

Take a look at the munchkins living in your home and ask yourself, what are you willing to do today to ensure you get the phone call with the big news? Because if you don’t start preparing for that day today, you will surely miss it.

Use the Force: Follow a Child’s Natural Rhythm and Preference

Anyone with kids has probably noticed the 5:00 hour is somehow a portal to the dark side. There’s no getting around it. It’s been called “the bewitching hour”, “arsenic hour” and reversely, “happy hour” by parents who choose to check out while the chaos ensues.

Gilmans

Joking aside, this is the perfect example of how to use natural forces to your advantage. Maybe, asking the kids to sit down and crack the books at 5:00 is asking for a meltdown—one that could be avoided by simply going with the flow of natural productivity. Homework at 3:00? Possibly. Homework at 6:00? Doable. But homework at 5:00? Probably not. The point is, it’s important to notice your child’s natural rhythms and preference and then leverage them to create seamless routines that support an instinctual nature. If your child is squirrely at 5pm, that might be a good time to invite him into the kitchen and have him make his lunch for the following day. Perhaps your child is a morning person. Invite them to make lunches before the bus. Got a late sleeper? Develop a routine that will have them prep their stuff before they go to bed so they get up and follow the same process right out the door.

There are some influences that can’t be changed, but there are many small adjustments that will lead to a much smoother flow throughout the day. And remember: expect hotspots around the am and bedtime routines, transitions to leave the house and getting “stuff” together for sports and activities. No matter what your rhythms and preferences are, understanding them and working with them will make each and every day more enjoyable for you and everyone around you.

Finding the right rhythm may take some time. Here are some ideas to get you going.

  • Identify the night owls and the morning larks.
  • Identify the rabbits and the turtles.
  • If a conflict ensues regarding an activity at a certain time of day – this is your key.
  • Have faith. Try it out. Give it time. And TRUST.

Does Duct Tape Stick to Homework?

social interest

Over the last several months, as Duct Tape Parenting continues to make its way into the homes of parents across the country I’ve started to hear from moms and dads who are homeschooling their kids and wondering if there are different strategies that might apply to their unique situation.

The most common concern these parents have is this:
Because our children don’t attend a traditional school, the lessons they could learn from leaving a lunch, a coat or a homework assignment behind or sleeping through an alarm clock because there is no bus to catch are lost. Are there other ways to address these issues that would lead to more organized and responsible kids.

And, from almost every homeschooling parent I heard from they shared this concern – since we are both teacher and parent, the homework issue can be tricky. Any thoughts on how to motivate kids to get it done without fracturing the relationship?

It’s true that homeschooling can present a unique set of challenges, but considering them in a different light is the key to finding the just right strategy for you and your family.

Homework:
There are enough studies that suggest that homework may not be as useful to students as we first thought. Educating yourself on the newest evidence based research will make it easier for most homeschooling parents to address this issue in new and liberating ways. If the goal is to help your children develop a love of learning, an excitement to jump into a new topic or area of study, to commit a certain number of hours each day to developing their intellect, it may be that homework has no place in that equation.

Design your day with both independent study (which would directly replace the homework for more traditionally educated kids) and one-on-one teaching. It’s hard for most kids to stay on task for very long and remaining flexible in your thinking will be the difference between success and increased power struggles. Some kids do best walking around, writing a few sentences or answering a few math problems and then walking around again. What might look like a lack of focus could actually be their brain recovering from a difficult problem solving session of 3, 4 or 5 minutes. They need time to reboot. Nagging the child to sit down and focus is defeating the purpose, which is, for the child to learn how to best work with the brain they were born with and develop it in a natural and healthy way. Talk to the kids on a regular basis about your intention for supporting independent work.

They won’t immediately understand the long term benefits, but an ongoing conversation will lay the foundation for strong study skills when it really matters. And of course, there is always the “As soon as” option which works nicely to help the kids learn to stay on task, and complete those tasks before they move on to “free time” or “choice time”. No, you can’t force them to learn, or force them to care or for that matter force them to pick up the pencil and do the work, so decide before you begin, what your ultimate goal is so you can avoid unnecessary power struggles and maintain both the relationship with your child and cultivate their love of learning.

Life Lessons:
There are other opportunities for kids to learn life lessons that come from leaving a coat, homework or lunch on the counter as they run off to school even if they don’t attend a traditional school In fact, one could argue that there are even more opportunities.

Allowing kids to help create morning routines before “school” will give them some ownership of their morning. For instance, deciding as a family that the kitchen is closed at 8:00 am would encourage kids to organize their morning in order to fill their tummies. Many families include “non-negotiables” in their routines including – everyone is dressed before they arrive at the table for breakfast, etc. In talking with Homeschooling Parents I have found that their is a lack of consistency in their routines. Because they don’t have to get kids to school at a given hour, they allow kids to stay in pj’s, or succumb to whining because the kids are hungry shortly after the kitchen has been cleaned. So it’s the parents responsibility to help create routines that can be supported no matter how upset the child might be that they missed the breakfast timeline.

Many parents admit that they spend a good deal of time reminding their kids to bring coats as they had out to the library, reminding them to bring their snack, a snack by the way, that the kids could be packing for themselves, when they go out for a field trip, etc. So in some cases, it’s as much the parents who are interfering with the child’s ability to become independent, responsible and organized as it is that the kids are resistant to the idea.

1. Design a healthy routine that you, the parent can both live with and enforce, no matter how much push back you get from the kids.
2. Sit down with the kids and allow them to create a routine that will work for them.
3. Without disclosing your design, combine the two to create a routine that supports everyone.
4. Practice for 7 to 14 days and ask the kids to assess. What worked, what didn’t, what made life easier in the morning, what made it more stressful.
5. Commit to the kids that YOU will not be nagging, reminding, etc, but instead you will focus on supporting the routine that you all agreed to.
6. Allow the kids to miss the meal, forget the coat or cancel the field trip if they dilly dally too long.

Life with kids, whether they attend traditional school or not, is an exercise in creativity, trial and error and what often helps parents find that sweet spot of parenting is deciding first hand what they are willing to do and what they aren’t and creating a clear, attainable goal to work towards.

Talking to Teachers: Homework

worth it

Raise thinking children!

Like any other parent, I was nervous going in and talking to teachers about homework, parent/teacher conferences and parent/teacher alliances.

However, with my oldest child I knew had to dig deep, grab hold of my confidence and the fact that I had thought about my views on all these subjects, had talked to experts in the field and felt sure that if I followed my inner compass, I could support all my children through their academic experience.

I made an appointment with the teacher early on in the year. I took the time to show appreciation for the teacher at the first meeting. I told her how much confidence I had in her as a teacher and was looking forward to the year ahead. I asked if she had any questions for me and of course, she did not. I think she thought that was an unusual request.

I shared with her my views on the following subjects:

  1. I let her know that it was my intention to raise a thinking child and in my short experience with children, I knew that a thinking child is often a messy child. I told her that since she was in the teaching professional I was guessing that she was trying to raise a thinking student. This was my first step in creating an alliance.
  2. I told her that I would be a very hands off parent. For several reasons. The first was that if I was overly involved in “helping” my child at home, in other words, doing more teaching, that she, the real teacher wouldn’t get a proper understanding of my child. I indicated that she would have a much clearer sense of how my child was doing academically if I stayed out of the way. And because I had confidence in her ability as an educator, I wasn’t worried that my child might have difficulty in reading, or math. If my child had difficulty in a particular subject, I was sure the teacher would want to know that so that she could find the proper teaching method for my child. My second reason for staying out of the way was because I would be focusing on the other areas of my child’s education – social skills, relationship development, conflict resolution, becoming independent and responsible. These were my primary jobs I explained and I would be focused on them while my child was with me.
  3. I indicated, that if my child asked for my help with an assignment or a project or with reading, I would be available to them. But I was also clear that I would in no way be involved with daily homework and that if my child waited until the 11th hour to inform me he needed glue sticks for the project due tomorrow, I would not be driving out to find a Ben Franklin that was open.
  4. I indicated that I would not be signing homework logs or reading logs and that I would be giving my child permission to sign my name. And then I told the teacher why. And I was clear about this. I went back to my original statement – I am raising a thinking child and I have no intention of interfering with their thinking by lecturing, nagging, reminding, scolding, bribing or saving them from their first chance at investing in their own educational success. Homework I stated was between the teacher and my child and if there were consequences for not turning in homework I expected the teacher to dole them out to my child. I would support the teacher unless humiliation was involved in the consequence.
  5. I shared my thoughts on the double education that is happening for kids – there are math facts and there are organization skills, there are spelling tests to study for and time management skills being developed. The more I stayed out of the way, the quicker and easier a time my child would have at learning both sets of skills.

And then I wrapped it up. I thanked the teacher again, looked forward to an inspiring year and ended by saying – I encourage my children to get sent to the principals office or to time out or where ever it is you send children when they make mistakes – at least once a year. I told her that I encouraged my children to do this for 2 reasons: The first is so they would know the principal, and would not be afraid of making mistakes and second, so they would develop empathy and compassion for the children who found themselves in trouble more often then not.

And then I left. By the time my oldest was in the 3rd grade, word spread about my role in my child’s academic experience. I had very little difficulty getting along with all my children’s teachers, coaches or anyone else who dealt with my kids. I set my posture. I was respectful, I was committed and I was serious. Everyone knew it. And, as a result, my kids had a fairly stress free educational experience. – Vicki

Talking to teachers about homework can be intimidating. To learn how you can build resiliency, be sure to read Duct Tape Parenting and check out this handy dandy SCRIPT to keep you on track.

 

 

 

Homework Help – How much?

rick-ackerlyEvery year the same question comes up: How much homework help do I offer my child?

What I’ve noticed is that almost all parents who ask this question have 3 things in common:

  1. They don’t have a strategy. (At least not a strategy that provides direction and a goal.)
  2. They have big fat, false fears about what will happen if their child does not turn in homework! (Stay back a grade, flunk out of college, lose scholarship opportunities, become a slacker, etc.)
  3. They sense this could be a growing problem, which is why they want to nip it in the bud. (They don’t like the idea of being the homework police and I don’t blame them).

The Truth is

The homework is not your problem and the only one who can learn to “fix” homework issues is your child. The teacher is who your child can turn to for homework help.

Rick Ackerly, a 45-year veteran and thought leader in the field of Education says (about homework help),

“When you care about it more than your child, it absolves the child of responsibility.”

In his recent post (a title inspired by the wise words of a 7 year old), Overparenting? Why Do Grownups Have to Take Over? he guides parents  through various feelings and beliefs they have about homework help. He also shares a story that I believe will hit home for the majority of our readers who are still struggling with their over-parenting tendencies. In the post, he says to a couple of well-meaning parents,

“Right now, (your son) doesn’t have to do any learning, because you are doing all the work. Your anxiety is a self-fulfilling prophecy.”

Up Next: What I said to my children’s teachers that made everything a win-win-win for the kids, the teachers and myself!

 

Raising a Thinking Child

thinking-kidsWhen my child was in the 2nd grade, and her teacher asked me why I didn’t sign her “homework” notebook, I told her it was because I was raising a “thinking” child.

It’s the same reason I didn’t:

  • Go through my kids backpacks every day
  • Pick out my child’s clothes
  • Decide if they would bring lunch or buy lunch
  • Make their lunch if they decided to bring it
  • Sit in the classroom and “observe”
  • Make a special trip to school to drop off a forgotten instrument, pair of cleats or science project
  • Talk to the teacher about my child’s “performance” without my child present
  • And 100 other decisions I made about my role in my child’s educational experience

I believed my primary job was to prepare my kids to leave home at 18 with the confidence necessary to make hundreds of decisions each day, the ability to overcome whatever challenge or obstacle they encounter and to do so with a sense of courage, curiosity and enthusiasm. That is how I defined my job as a mother. I made that decision when my first child came home from Kindergarten with a list of “expectations” the teacher had of me.

Truth be told, when I sat down with my children’s teachers and explained my philosophy, they were, for the most part, supportive. So I have nothing to complain about.

But recently, some of my closest and smartest friends have been struggling with balancing their decision to raise thinking kids and with the school expectations that parents play an “active” role in their child’s educational experience.

Here are a few tips on how to balance your decision to raise thinking kids (who are often, late, messy and leave their stuff behind in the car) with the schools request for over-involved parents.

1. Talk to the teacher. Yes, I know it can be scary, but most teachers I know really do love kids, want to work with parents AND are often times so overwhelmed with “stuff” they have to do, that their warm and caring side gets covered up. I encourage every parent to talk with their child’s teacher at the beginning of the year if possible, when they are fresh and rested and exited and they are open to creating an exceptional educational experience for your child. And if it’s March when you’re ready to have that conversation with the teacher, do it anyway.

2. Have your child present at the meeting so you set the tone for the year and the teacher knows that your child is part of this important conversation and that they will take responsibility for the decisions they make. This helps establish a logical balance of power between all the parties. If the teacher deals with homework that isn’t turned in by having kids stay after for an hour, you can smile and support the teacher from the get go. Imagine how far this goes in establishing a respectful and open relationship. One, by the way, your child is watching and will begin to emulate over time.

3. Decide if you will sign homework, reading, math or science books and then be honest with the teacher about who will be doing the signing. My children signed every piece of paper that ever came home that required a parent’s signature. If they were struggling in math, I wanted them to tell me, not a piece of paper.

4. Decide if there are instances when you would be willing to make a special trip to school to bring an item to your child and what those instances are so everyone is clear from the beginning. This goes a long way in creating consistency as well as allowing everyone to support each other in the process of raising thinking kids.

5. Decide if you will be using the “Portal” or online options or if you will get your information directly from your child; and then let your teacher know. Here is an example of just how awful this entire Portal thing can be.

“My niece’s middle school in (state shall remain anonymous) contacted her mother and scolded her for not checking her daughter’s school portal info often enough. They said if she didn’t check the portal at least once a week, her daughter would get points off her final grade. Her daughter is a straight A student.”

–Scary isn’t it?

6. Describe for the teacher your goals in raising a thinking child and what you are willing to do to remain true to your decision. Let them know that you want to work collaboratively with them and your intent is not to make life difficult for them. And in turn, you understand that they won’t do anything to damage the relationship you are trying to build with your child by insisting that you “make” your child do their homework and turn it in on time. Unless of course, you are both going to college with said child, in which case, have at it.

As the mother of 5, it seems to me that raising a “thinking” child in the 21st century, is nothing less than a requirement for every parent, teacher, coach or anyone else working with kids. But hey, that’s just me.

 

Purpose of Homework

We just celebrated the end of the 1st quarter of school. By now, many of you have met with your child’s teacher, shared your goals and dreams for the year and invited the teacher to become an ally that supports your efforts in teaching your children about independence, responsibility, self discipline and more.

You have also had ample time to get a feel for how “homework” is playing out in your child’s life.

Here is what one young, spunky and totally committed teacher had to say,

“It isn’t as important that teachers and parents agree completely on the ‘purpose’ of homework. That will continue to be a dialogue between each parent, each teacher and each policy maker for years to come.

What is important is that parents and teachers agree to find what I call a “center point”. It can take some work, several conversations and some compromise on everyone’s part, but in the end this alliance benefits the child/student.

I am thrilled when I find parents who are committed to finding this “center point” and will work tirelessly to co-create it with them.”

So before you wait any longer, make an appointment and become allies with your child’s teacher.

Homework Hell-p

home work police, helpIn regards to Homework Hell-p!

I read a blog post not long ago by the mother of a 2nd grader who needed some guidance on how to help her child with homework. Without rehashing the entire blog post, here’s the gist of it. Her daughter had an assignment to do, and twiddled her thumbs for hours until mom started breathing down her neck; mom is now afraid that the child will flunk out of college and never learn a thing unless she continues to be the homework police, and, well, forget about dinner!

At the end of her article, this mom still didn’t have a strategy for how to deal with the homework issue. What she did have was a gut feeling that if she didn’t come up with a strategy for both her and her daughter, it could be a long 10 years.

First off, if this mom is anything like the parents who show up at a class I teach, she just might have a belief that children who dawdle while doing their homework will fail in school, won’t get into college, won’t get a good job and will lead a less than successful life. I know, it’s a little over the top, but these “beliefs” that we have can wreak havoc on us and on our kids’ lives.

If you are one of these parents who have strong beliefs about homework, take a step back and remember that this child (or yours) is in second grade and working on the first big homework assignment of her life. Of course she is dawdling—she doesn’t really know what is expected of her yet!

Second, if mom wants to become the homework police—and stay the homework police for the remainder of this child’s academic career—then she did the right thing by breathing down her neck. And she better get good at it because she has at least another eleven years of poking and prodding to do.

Ah, you hadn’t considered this, had you? That’s one of the pickles parents get themselves into. They create a habit, or a short-term solution to a long-term challenge, and find themselves doing things for years that started out as a “one time only” proposition.

What could she (or you) do if she doesn’t want to be the homework police and has better things to do than micromanage her daughter’s life? She could do—are you ready?—nothing. Yup, that’s right—nothing. At least for a while. At least until she begins to understand more about how her daughter views homework.

This little second grader is never going to learn how to manage her time or how she best gets things done without figuring that out herself. Our kids don’t learn time management because we tell them which assignment to do, when to do it and how it should be done. They learn by not turning in an assignment, dealing with the aftermath and then coming up with a plan so that it never happens again. (Okay, if it never happens again at 45, you can consider yourself a success.)

My recommendation to this mom? Relax! Your daughter is only in second grade and has a long time to figure out how to manage her time to get everything done. Let her dawdle and doodle, and let her get a C or an F on the assignment. You can be sure that learning is taking place and, after all, isn’t that what school is for? Instead of standing over her shoulder, you will be free to… do what you like, including having the resources to be happy, friendly and available for your children if they happen to experience disappointment as they learn.

That’s Right. It’s Not Your Routine!

It’s Not Your Routine!How many children have you heard recently talking with glee, pleasure and pride about all the fun wheels, stickers, emergency bags, homework nooks, or checklists their parents have created for them? Right, I didn’t think so.

Routines, it seems, require oodles of conversation among parents. The most popular at the moment seems to be Morning Routines and Homework Routines. This is no surprise as school has just begun, but come the holidays… well, you know, it all falls apart during the hustle and bustle of holiday fun, and then we’re back to the same conversation when the dust finally settles.

Now, if you are looking to read about what other parents say on the subject of routines, or if you have a fabulous story to tell about a clever way you get your kids organized in the morning, you may want to skip the rest of this article. It’s not for you. If, however, you are willing to challenge yourself, your decisions and your intentions about the purpose of your routines, you’ve found the perfect place, and I’m so glad you came!

It has been my observation that, more often than not, parents who talk about all the ways they are “helping” their children “create routines” under the guise of “making the children’s lives easier and supporting them to become more successful people,” are spending time and energy so that they, the parents, have something to feel good about.

If you are starting to balk about where this is all going right about now, go back to the first question I asked – Are your children talking about their routines and “routine helpers” with glee, pleasure and pride?

It seems to me that if parents were really creating routines for their kids, the parents wouldn’t go around talking about it all the time. It seems to me that personal routines, though indeed personal, are mainly created with the wrong people in mind.

Consider this…

Doesn’t it seem reasonable that if the intention behind creating routines was to teach our children how to create their own routines, then THE CHILDREN would be the ones talking about them?

As a mother of 5, I know first-hand the value of routines. The difference is this, what I taught my kids to do was HOW TO CREATE FOR THEMSELVES systems, routines and emergency bags ONCE… and then, I sent them on their way to discover and create the routines that worked best for them. I couldn’t, in all honesty, tell you what those systems and routines are, but I do know this…

My kids have been finishing homework and their household chores, and we have been leaving the house on time and for years. And it ain’t because I decided that I was going to micro-manage my children’s lives for “their own good!”

One of the driving principles of the Parenting On Track™ Home Program is that of raising independent, responsible, resourceful, resilient, problem-solving children. How do you suppose kids learn those skills? By using routines and systems that we create for them? Nope. By trying one, failing; making changes, failing; getting back up, failing; getting back up and finally arriving at the perfect solution, the perfect system, the perfect routine for them.

I ask you which of the two choices below is more important to you – really.

  • Children who brush their teeth every day because they like to get stickers?
  • Children who can manage their time and feel empowered because they figured it out for themselves.

So the next time you think about setting up a routine for your children, ask yourself the following:

  • Who is the routine really for – You, or your kids?
  • Is it about developing a routine or controlling the situation?
  • Routine… did anyone ask the kids?
  • Left on their own, what routine would your children create?

For more information about how to blend training with letting go and empowering your children, learn more about the Parenting On Track™ Home Program today.