Ten ways to help your kids pick themselves

Published by Lori Pickert on June 26, 2013 at 09:08 AM

On Monday, I wrote a post about how sometimes, even if someone wants you for their team, it might still be in your best interests to pick yourself.

Here are ten ways to help your kids pick themselves:

- Didn’t get that part in the school play? Build a plywood stage in the backyard, hang a curtain, and hand them a clipboard. Target sells a great plastic microphone for a dollar that works as a director’s megaphone. You can string holiday lights above the stage if you want to get fancy.

- Spending most of the game on the bench? Mow that field behind your house, clean up the empty lot, or tell the neighborhood kids you’ll take them to the park. One bat, one ball, a few gloves — that’s all we ever needed. (Or one soccer ball. Or one football.)

- Help them set up their own minecraft server.

- Writer in the house? Let them know they can publish a zine or a neighborhood newspaper. Take them to Kinkos; give them a budget.

- No one hiring five-year-olds? Let them run their own front-yard business.

- Let them build a skateboard ramp in the backyard.

- No one else into their hobby? Not enough friends? Make your own community. (More tips here.)

- Didn’t make cheerleader? Set up a cheer camp in the backyard for the neighborhood kids. Or grab a room at the community center and make flyers. Ask them what they need.

- Loves movies but Hollywood not in the immediate future? Give them a videocamera and let them make their own movies.

- Too young for culinary school? Let them take over the kitchen.

Whatever it is your kids want to do, even if no one picks them, they can pick themselves. They can get started today doing the thing they care most about.

Want to enhance the experience?

- Give them a budget. Whether they’re baking or making or using up bandwidth, let them figure out how best to spend what they’ve got.

- Let them have their own ideas. Make sure they know what’s possible, then stand back and let them take over.

- Help them. Whether it’s power tools or chauffering them to the store or reserving them a room at the library, let them know you’re ready to help them when/if they need you.

- Encourage them to share. Teach someone else what they’ve learned; invite family or neighbors to see what they’ve accomplished. Spread the knowledge around and inspire someone else.

Support them. Grab the car keys and take them where they need to go. Give them a little budget to control. Give them tools or show them where they can access them in your community. If somebody says “No,” show them how they can say, “Yes.”

Help them produce what they consume.

If they don’t make the team, help them make their own team. If opportunities are scarce, show them how they can make their own.

There are a million roadblocks that appear in life — not enough parts to play, not enough positions, not enough room in the club. The earlier you learn to respond by creating your own opportunities, the better. No one else is in charge of what you get to do. They may be in charge of their class, their club, their team, but you can make your own.

No one can keep you from doing the thing you love to do. The younger you learn this lesson, the better.

Have some examples to share of kids picking themselves? Let me know in the comments and I’ll make this list longer! (Give me links if possible!)


Comment by dawn suzette on June 26, 2013 at 02:06 PM

I really need to get on that create a community thing for these kiddos of mine. Like minded folks have got to be out there we just need to lure them out of hiding here!
These are some great ideas.

Comment by Lori Pickert on June 26, 2013 at 03:16 PM

thanks, dawn :)

Comment by Jackie on June 28, 2013 at 07:09 PM

I LOVE your article!!! I really like the way you presented your idea of picking yourself. My DD did just that. She created communities when she found trouble finding local folks for her anime obsession. She set up social network pages and organizations, and she even organized a local meetup for National Hetalia Day.

We are unschoolers and she is interested in turning her love of anime into her own business. Her father and I have encouraged and helped her in this new adventure.


Comment by Lori Pickert on June 28, 2013 at 07:19 PM

thank you! it sounds like your daughter is doing some great work!

Comment by mamacrow on June 29, 2013 at 02:24 PM

oh this is AWESOME!
It's also something we've inadvertently discovered ourselves with 7 kids - we make a full karate class effortlessly, for example

Comment by Lori Pickert on June 29, 2013 at 06:36 PM

hahaha — perfect.

and thank you! :)

Comment by erintfg on July 1, 2013 at 04:27 PM

Posts like this inspire me. Thank you for regularly posting challenging, thought-provoking, inspiring articles that make me want to get up and do.

You are seriously my hero. :)

Comment by Lori Pickert on July 1, 2013 at 04:42 PM

erin, thank you so much, that absolutely makes my day. :)

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