Empowering Your Children to be More Independent

In the “Ask Flora”, you get to ask your parenting questions (for ages 2-10), to Flora McCormick, Licensed Counselor & Parenting Coach.

Q. “I want to empower my 9 yo to be more independent, initiate chores/homework/bedtime routine without being asked. To help lessen the load and be a good example, while I’m juggling younger siblings. I have tried to in the past and she just isn’t that motivated. She claims she forgets. She get distracted, playing.” – Kate

There are 2 key things that I think could help your daughter be more helpful.  

  1.  Set-up self-motivating routines that can help do the prompting for you.  They are most often phrased with a “When….Then…” or “As soon as….Then…”  The more consistent these agreements are, the more self-motivating they are.  So strive for something that can be fairly consistent every day.  For example:


“After school, as soon as your homework is done, then you can play with the neighbors.”

“When you finish your homework, you can get on the iPad.”


“I’m gonna set a time – and if you have your jobs done before it goes off, you are welcome to use that time for playing, if you use the whole time to get yourself ready – that’s fine too.”


“When your 3 weekend chores are done, then you can play with friends/get on tech/ride bikes.”

Then if you see your child playing without having their jobs done, you can simply say, “What was our agreement about that?

2. Involve the child in the agreement.  As you see the options above, I recommend sitting down with your child outside of the challenging moment, to say, “Bedtime/Chores/Homework has been a bit of a challenge recently.  I know you don’t like me reminding and nagging, and I don’t like it either.  What can we agree on that could be something that works out so you do what you need to do, before you do what you wanna do?  Otherwise, I only have the option of taking away some of the time you get to do the things you wanna do.


Click here to view the full article in Montana Parent Magazine

To get more sanity-saving strategies for parenting young kids, join Flora’s Free Facebook Group: Sustainable Parenting.  Questions for the next issue or wins/questions from this issue can be submitted to contactflora@gmail.com. A special thank you to those who submitted our 1st questions!

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