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When Kids Want Ideas, Hand Them a Dust Cloth

by Confluence
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By: Lisa Cavallaro – Confluence Daily is your daily news source for women in the know.

Personal Fulfillment And Satisfaction Are What Kids Really Want

I grew up with two brothers and one sister in a small village where the houses were close together, families had anywhere between two and ten kids, and it was safe to roam the streets after dark.

Once summer vacation began, I’d wake up early, ring my friends’ doorbells and see who was ready to play. We’d ride bikes, spend the day at the village pool (often through rain), get a game of whiffle ball or Clue going, or my least favorite, play dolls.

We went full steam ahead all day, sometimes right through lunchtime. The rule was as dinner got closer, we had to be within Mom’s yelling limits so we could hear her call. After inhaling dinner, we’d head right back outside.

We kept ourselves busy because it was fun, but also because if we dared speak the two words Mom trained us never to say, work would be in our very near future. Hearing us say “I’m bored” was all it took. Whenever Mom heard me say it, she’d hand over the dust cloth and tell me to get cleaning. I hated cleaning.

I also hated Mom’s way of dealing with “I’m bored,” but once I became a parent I saw how smart she was to not voluntarily become our personal summertime cruise director. Brilliant move, Mom!

Brilliant for one more reason too… it turns out Mom’s dust cloth strategy resulted in a gift I don’t think she ever intended. Because the truth is that I’m never bored. Even when it’s just me and my thoughts, I’m always curious about or interested in one thing or another.

It’s as if that dust cloth took not only the words but also the possibility of me becoming bored out of my brain altogether because I can always find or create something fun… with or without technology!

So, if you’re ever thinking this summer that you really “should” do more to keep your kids busy, you might want to think again.

Encourage them to come up with their own ideas. If possible, you can provide the support when they ask for rides, money, supervision and supplies.

They may balk at first, thinking it’s easier for Mom to do things for them. In the short run, that may be true. But by putting the ball in their court, you’re conveying your faith in their ability to create their own good time. You’re letting them know that you believe they can do it. And they can.

You’re also taking the pressure off yourself which is a good thing in itself.

Kids need things to do. They also need to feel a sense of personal fulfillment and satisfaction that come from doing things for themselves.

When it comes to their summer activities, we can help them more by challenging them than by thinking for them.

If they disagree with your thoughts on that, don’t forget Mom’s strategy. That dust cloth worked on me AND came with added lifetime benefits.


More by Lisa:

Getting Bullies to Change




Lisa Cavallaro, The Confidence Coach, is an LOA Coach with a solution-focused spin on bullying. She helps parents leverage Law of Attraction to raise kids who are self-confident and have a positive outlook toward peers, school and life. Lisa is the author of No More Drama and ADHD The Natural Way.



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