Posted tagged ‘camping’

How chores & family meetings have changed everything

May 14, 2012
This young girl is showing the value of family chores. She is washing windows. This task gives her connection to family, self esteem and self-discpline, all of which cannot be bought at K-Mart or Wal-Mart. Yes, it takes more time for mom to involve the kids. Yes, the kids won't do as good as a job. Yes, it requires family meetings and encouragement. it's worth the investment in your family.

Love the action in this photo as well as the reflection in the windows. Appearances can deceive. This 9-year-old is gaining self-confidence, skill, self-discipline, self-esteem and connection to her family.

This post is from a mom in Ireland who read “Raising Able: How Chores Empower Families” and began applying the practices with her two kids. 

Somebody tell Hallmark that we already had mother’s day. It was a few weeks back.

We started family meetings in January. We have had a weekly family meeting for three months. As a family, we have cleaned out the shed, scrubbed the carpet, and had a stall at a carboot sale [flea market]. The children have cleaned the bathroom, washed windows, hoovered, worked a huge amount on the dishwasher, washed the dogs, brushed the dogs, cooked frozen sausage rolls with no help, lit the fire, made firelighters, and swept the floor: All since we began chores.

This young man is hanging out damp laundry to dry. He is doing a green chore, which is common in Ireland. Such a simple chore for a child that brings complex benefits, such as self-esteem, self-confidence, skill, connection to family and self-discipline. These are priceless. All through family meetings, family chores and encouragement. Mom does the chores with the kids. that helps enormously.

Hanging out the laundry instead of hanging out with his friends brings priceless self-discipline and counteracts entitlement.

We have gone bowling, had lunch in various venues, made trips to the playground, played cute family games of hide and seek, become expert at Connect 4, and even camped for one night in April in Ireland.The children have learned to work together and to enjoy their jobs. It was a joy to see my son busy with the hoover [vacuum cleaner] and singing a song. He seems to particularly enjoy telling the boy next door that he can’t  come out now because he has his jobs to do!

My daughter is 9, and she had never really done chores before. I explained to her that I needed her help, and that she had to work for our family the same way as the rest of us do. She likes when I work with her. She now tells me more about her feelings and her life. She seems so much happier since we put her to work. She likes to tell me that other girls are princesses. We are not princesses, we are women who are useful and the dad in our house likes us just the way we are.

As a parent, family meetings are hard work. It is totally worth the trouble. We are so much more together as a family, and I wouldn’t have missed that game of hide and seek or seeing that baby lamb at the campsite, for all the tea in China. “Raising Able” has given me the ideas and skills to make memories my family will always cherish. Thank you Susan.

This little guy is making scones. His mother is allowing him to make a mess in the kitchen. This is how children learn to cook - by making a mess. Cooking is not a chore. Cooking is a fun exploration by combining ingredients. Let kids discover the joy and excitement and satisfaction of cooking for famil members. Start them cooking early and often. Do not baniish kids from the kitchen.

This little guy proves that cooking is not a chore. Combining ingredients and transforming them into something delicious is an adventure that brings pleasure to family members. It will require parents to allow kids to make a mess in the kitchen. Go with the flow!


Tune into wireless camping

September 7, 2010

They're about as cute as they come. Children love camping together. It's a great adventure. Raising children outdoors teaches them to appreciate the planet.

BFF. Camping will do that for people, even when things go awry.

What a glorious view. Dry weather out west helps make camping more enjoyable. Even though camping with young children is a lot of work, it's worth it. Camping together connects families to the great outdoors, to each other and to friends.

Two families bond with each other and the great outdoors.

Hey Grandma, look at me! I can roll out dough with my cup. THat's what I love about camping- improvising. Camping is most fun when done with groups of people

Grandma and Bree roll out pie crust together at camp.

This guest post is from my nephew Sean who touts the virtues of family camping.

After a 10-day tent camping trip with my wife, daughter (almost 2 ½) and my parents followed by another 3 night tent trip with another family of 4, I said to Susan that camping “is a time to really tune into your family.”

There was a lot of “tuning in.”  As new parents, we were a little nervous about driving thousands of miles with a 2-year-old strapped in the back of our Suburban.  We had space to bring lots of camping amenities and plenty of toys and books.

We decided to forgo electronic gadgets and screen devices and stick to our convictions to use screen time very sparingly.

Our goal was to make it out to Glacier National Park in Montana, which meant about 9.5 hours of driving from our Seattle home.  We chose to divide up the drive into two segments, stopping in North Central Washington for the first weekend.

That drive went uneventfully as Breanna slept about half of the time.  We strategically plan to drive during nap times, so this one encompassed her afternoon nap.  Two days later, we were on the road again, headed to GNP.  After arriving in the park and the rendezvous with my parents, we realized that we had not even turned on the radio the entire drive.

We became so in tune with our daughter’s banter or sleep that we didn’t even need the background noise.  In fact, Bree kind of kept us entertained after learning a few driving games.  Soon she was asking things like “What do you see, Daddy?” or “What color, Mommy?”  Those games translated into object identification games including barns, animals, and various trucks.  So we learned together, and what started out in fear ended up in learning, listening and tuning into one another’s sights and sounds.

The camping trip had lots of outdoor time, inter-generational cooking and discovery time outdoors seeing wildlife, trees, lakes and plants.  We made it through several long days of driving and ended up with in Bend, Oregon– all without a single DVD player!

Back home, one of the biggest realizations hit me.  Breanna had a chance to really tune into us as well.  I was printing and trimming some pictures from our trip; running around as I sometimes do.

Breanna was in the room with the printer and paper cutter.  Suddenly I heard, “Daddy, look!”  I called back “What, Bree?”  “Campfire!” she exclaimed.  I ran around the corner to see the most meticulous campfire built with kindling and all.  Bree had squirreled away the steps in making a campfire during our trip, and without even knowing it we had taught her a new skill.

She had placed the paper strips on the floor as kindling and found some table legs to use as logs over the kindling.  I was excited to see that Breanna had a chance to learn from and tune into us without us even knowing it.  Of course this reinforced my motivation for always being the best person I can for the sake of my family, especially my child(ren).

We spent 25 nights in a tent this summer and learned a lot about each other.  We spent time with several other families and became more intimate friends through cooking, doing camp chores and having real-life sleepovers.

For me, there have been great opportunities to get away from house projects, computers and phones.  Road trips provided great talking and tune-in time for our whole family and camping allowed us to divide up tasks and learn new chores.