I am often asked about ways to instil confidence in children.  It is my profound belief that confidence comes from our ability to ‘let go’ and allow our children to ‘try’,  take calculated risks, and learn from their mistakes.  This can be quite a change in mindset for some.  As parents we want to protect and keep our children safe, however if we don’t give them the opportunities, and space to ‘try’, the danger is we inadvertently send out the message they are not capable of doing things on their own, and they need our help.  Do this often enough and our children move away from eagerly jumping in with both feet to try new things, to becoming dependent and anxious, which is the last thing we want as parents. So I thought it might be fun for my children and I to set ourselves some challenges this summer, and for us to chronicle our journey for you all to read about.
Our challenges will be a combination of self-set targets as well as ‘life-skills’, which we would like to master.  In addition the children will be learning some common household chores, which I will set to relieve some of the household workload over the summer. This week I set both my children the challenge of feeding our family for a whole day; breakfast, lunch and dinner, with £20.  They will need to feed just the three of us for breakfast and lunch as sadly daddy still works through the school holidays, but he gets to join us for dinner.  I asked the children to plan their meals for the day using our various different cook books, and to then research approximate costs of their ingredients to ensure they stuck to their £20 budget.  They then came with me to the supermarket to buy their shopping. After a little grumbling both my 15 year old, and soon to be 12 year old, settled into the task, and feverishly worked on their meal plans and costings.  They even put aside their sibling squabbles as they talked about what they had decided to cook and how much everything was costing.  It took them just over an hour to write their final shopping list, before we headed out to the supermarket.  Watching them shop was very interesting as their usual war cry of ‘can we have this, and this and this’ changed as they suddenly had to consider the cost of everything.  They started comparing brands, cost per 100g, and 2 for 1 deals, as they tried to get their £20 to stretch as far as possible.
I jokingly mentioned neither of them had planned for any puddings, which I am always asked to provide, and they both saw this as a challenge to eek out even more from their cash. Needless to say, as usual I forgot to bring any cash, and so I had to pay for each of their shops on my debit card, which somewhat defeated the object of them facing the cashier with the possibility they might not have enough money.  In fact my daughter had overspent my £1.06 and had to put back the hundreds and thousands which she had bought as part of her last minute pudding decision.  My son however felt smug he had managed to come 5p under budget. Do please follow my blog, or just pop back again soon to see the pictures of their final meals.
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