Character Chats

How can we get our kids to start doing things for themselves?

Our True Character program is our social emotional learning program here at True Balance Karate. Every month we have a word of the month. We have homework assignments that go with that and mat chats.

And here on our blog series, we share some of the tips and pointers in the word of the month that you can use at home.

This month’s True Character word-of-the-month is resourcefulness.

Resourcefulness means, “I can do it without help.” That’s how we define it for the kids.

Resourceful people show many different character traits. They’re open-minded, confident, imaginative, creative, adaptable, and positive. They think of ways to solve problems.

Kids like being resourceful

A lot of things that parents wonder and think about is how we can start getting our kids to do a little bit more for themselves.

I remember when my daughter was little, a year and a half old.  One of the first things she learned to start saying was, “I do. I do.” Right? We all remember that.

Little toddler, you’re late for an appointment, you’re trying to leave the house. And they insist, “I do”. They want to put their own shoes on. They want to put their own coat on. And you’re thinking to yourself, “I don’t have time for a life lesson right now. We’re late for our appointment.”

But we understand, we want them to start to learn how to do things for themselves. And as they get older, all of a sudden they stop saying, “I do”, as often. They start looking and understanding, “hey, that’s a little easier if mom and dad do it for me.”

So we’re going to talk a little bit about how we can start getting them to do some things for themselves.

Help kids be resourceful

First, I want to give parents a little bit of a tip that will show you how we talk about this with our kids. So for parents, if we want our children to start being resourceful, we need to use our resourcefulness and set them up for success. For example, when our kids were little and they wanted to get their own cup of water, we ended up putting all their plastic cups and bowls and everything in a lower drawer, right near the floor. That way they could go in there and get it for themselves.

When my son couldn’t reach into the sink with a dirty plate, without dropping it and breaking it, we had him put it next to the sink. We try to set them up physically for them to be able to start to do things themselves. Sure, sometimes it takes a little bit more time, but it’s a good life lesson we really want. We want independent, successful kids to grow up to be independent, successful adults.

Here is a little bit on how we teach this to the kids — we’ll go over a little bit of our mat chats and what we say to the students:

“So, when we’re faced with a problem, resourceful people look for ways to solve it. Whether it’s deciding what game to play or what to eat. They think of ways to make decisions and solve problems. Resourceful people are independent.

“What are some things that you can do right now on your own? Can you pick up after yourself? Can you find the thing you put away without asking for help? If we always put our toys away in the same spot, do we then know where to find them? We don’t have to ask mom and dad? What is one thing you can start doing for yourself right now?

“Black belt attitude of resourcefulness means, you are looking for ways to be helpful and independent. You are looking for ways to learn and grow and be independent. Right?”

Do things for yourself

Now, let’s go over some scenarios.

Let’s say kids that you’re thirsty. What’s a resourceful person going to do? Do they walk past the kitchen and go right up to Mom and Dad and say, “I’m thirsty”. And Mom and Dad say, “You walked right past the water.” Or does a resourceful independent future black belt know how to get a glass and get water for themselves? Absolutely. A good future black belt will always do things for themselves.

Let’s say you can’t find your favorite toy. How can a resourceful person find their toy? Did you put it away in the same spot? Where is it usually? What other spots in your house can you look for a toy first? Do you think it’s better to come up to mom and dad and say, “I looked at my drawer and I looked at my closet and I’m not sure where this thing is.” Do you think that’s a better conversation to have mom and dad? Or does a future black belt come up to mom and dad and say, “I don’t know where my toy is.” And they walk right to the spot where it’s always been and point it out to them.

A future black belt does things for themselves. They’re independent and they’re resourceful. So we always want to look for ways to be independent and solve problems. It’s something that resourceful people do.

Thanks. Have a good day and we’ll see everybody on the mat.
– Master Helsdon