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I am very keen on having kids do activities for themselves, which  they are capable of. While it can often seem easier and quicker to do the activity yourself, teaching the kids life skills which are age appropriate for them, is one of the best things I can do for them and me.

Better for them as they begin acquiring the skills they need to grow their independence. The self confidence kids get from being able to do things for themselves is amazing. I am sure you are all familiar of the look of pride on your child’s face when they have accomplished a new task successfully.  It is better for me as it saves me time in the long run, as they become able to do these tasks without any assistance from me.

Encouraging children to try new tasks and skills, also increases their willingness to try new things in other areas of their life. If they are used to trying new stuff, fumbling a bit, evening failing, before getting it right, trying something new outside of the home doesn’t seem so overwhelming.

I haven’t been as on the ball with this in some areas in our house of late, so am going to be using the 21 Challenge to work with the kids to teach them to do some tasks for themselves. Today it was teaching the 7 year old to make his own porridge.

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As noted before on the blog, we have the table set for breakfast the night before and as the kids wake up, they can serve themselves breakfast.

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All of the kids, including the preschooler happily do this. But as the weather has turned colder, porridge has become a popular breakfast choice for some of the kids. The 12 and 9 year old make their own if they want it, but I have been making the seven year olds for him.

We use the quick porridge sachets, which you can make in the microwave, so as it is not stove top, I felt the 7 year old was at an age now, where I could teach him to make it for himself and he was keen to do so.

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The packets are easy enough to tear open and empty the contents into a bowl.

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We have made a black line with permanent marker to highlight the 1/2 cup amount he needs for his porridge. One of the things you need to accept when teaching kids new skills, is it will most likely take them a number of times to get it right. At the start it is also likely to be slower and more messy. We have cloths set up to clean up spills as we go and the kids know where to find them and where to put them when they have finished.

Kids need to know that a spill or a mistake it is okay. If we scold them when this happens, their willingness to try new tasks will diminish. Sometimes this requires lots and lots of patience as a parent!

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We have quite possibly the easiest microwave to operate! But even this task provides a learning opportunity. The packet says to cook it on high for 90 seconds, so he needed to work out 90 seconds = 1 minute 30 seconds and the dot between one and two minutes represented 30 seconds.

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The seven year old likes to cool his porridge down a little bit first, so he did that before sitting down to enjoy the breakfast he made by himself.

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He has also taking to want to read at breakfast. The seven year old is the only one I have to wake up in the morning. Not every morning, but a couple of mornings a week, I need to wake him up, so he has enough time to get ready. I do factor in time for him to read in the morning as he likes to have time for this.

The reading and eating thing he is allowed to do, as he is at the table on his own. But it does pose a problem in that he goes very slowly when he does this. To remedy this I now set a timer. He has five minutes and if he hasn’t finished his breakfast by this time, the book has to go. Today he had easily finished his breakfast and just sat there reading, waiting for my phone timer to go off!

Do your kids get their own breakfast?

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If you enjoyed this post, I would love it if you made a small donation to my 21 Challenge. Donations can be made directly here. All funds raised go to Open Family Australia who provide a range of Outreach services to young people experiencing high complex needs. Their focus is on homeless and at risk youth. Thank you!

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3 comments...read them below or add one

  • Sarah June 04, 2013 at 5:40 am

    This is a great skill for kids! My kids make their own breakfast most of the time and lunch too. They like having the freedom to pick what they want from available choices and it saves me so much time. My 6 year old loves helping make scrambled eggs. He feels very grown up at the stove (with me one step away).

  • Polly June 04, 2013 at 9:14 pm

    Yes, although I do tend to do it as we are so time poor…I should really start encouraging my mr 6 to do it himself.

  • Gin June 06, 2013 at 7:44 am

    I was inspired after reading this to buy the quick sachets, and this morning I taught my 6 year old how to make his own porridge. He was very pleased and so was I, although for the cost factor I think I will go back to making porridge on the stove with traditional rolled oats. (However I might just keep some sachets around for lazy mornings.)