Balancing Act: 7 Ways to Create Freedom and Structure with your Children

12While children love to be free to do whatever that want, they are wired to value and rely on scheduling. Why? Because, simply, they have short attention spans. In general, children need to feel like they are free to make their own decisions within reasonable boundaries. There’s an innate part of them that knows they need to learn and on their own time will do so. As a parent, our job is to facilitate this process so that they can do it properly as adults and embarrass us. Here are a few ways that I balance this with my eight-year-old nephew/son and three-year-old daughter.

Selecting Activities and Committing

My nephew watches all things karate on TV. He loves Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and swears this new version is better than the old one *rolls eyes*. He’d be kicking and pretending to do what he sees his favorite heroes do. So my mother signed him up for karate class. However, after about three months into taking lessons he was over it. No, he’s not quitting. He’s been told “Money has been spent on this and this is something you wanted to do; so you’re going to do it.” He has quickly gotten over that and as the test for him attaining his yellow belt has come closer he is excited to have accomplished something.

My nephew made a choice. He wanted to do something. When he realized that it was more learning and hard work vs being fun he got bored. He wants to be a ninja tomorrow. Makes sense because he’s a kid. However, sticking with this activity and seeing results made him want to continue. Last month at school a kid grabbed him and he was able to defend himself. I think that made him feel like he was Raphael. (Read More)

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