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Ep. 42 Why to Avoid Kid-Centered Activities with Michaeleen Doucleff

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What if the secrets to parenting aren’t secrets at all? What if everything you need to know to raise intrinsically-motivated, helpful, kind, and generous humans can all be learned from the Maya in Yucatan, the Inuit in the Arctic circle, and the Hadzabe in Tanzania? We dive into this topic with Michaeleen Doucleff, PhD, but after this episode, we think you’ll want to dive even deeper!

Michaeleen Doucleff, PhD is author of New York Times Bestseller, Hunt Gather Parent. This is the parenting book of all parenting books, where Doucleff shares what she learned about parenting after visiting three continents with her 3-year-old daughter. You can also find her over at NPR, where she uses her expertise to cover a wide range of topics, all with science and health in mind. She currently lives in Alpine, Texas with her family.

Doucleff says her book isn’t just about parenting, it is also about how we treat other people, and how to relate to children in a different way than we do in Western culture.

Children Go With:

  • In these places, it is normal for children to go with adults; children are integrated into the adult world
  • Bringing children into your work world gets them to connect with you and learn! A lot of struggle American parents have is because kids aren’t used to working together with their parents/family unit

Why/How to Avoid Kid-Centred Activities:

  • The vast majority of cultures don’t have kid-centred activities, because they don’t think kids need specific activities (In these cultures, usually kid “toys” are related to work)
  • After kid-centred activities, kid behaviour can be very poor
  • Allow sports and activities to be child-driven, meaning let them choose, and hopefully make it family-centred in some way, or allow it to foster independence
  • Kids who aren’t over-scheduled are found to take more initiative in chores and homework
  • Extra activities are, and should be seen as, privileges

T.E.A.M. Acronym (works best outside!!):

  • Together (with someone older, who loves them)
  • Encourage (versus force)
  • Autonomy (allow kids to make decisions, but still expect them to help, be kind, and generous)
  • Minimal Interference

The TEAM Acronym is extraordinary for kids physical and mental health.

How/Why to Avoid Bribery & Chore Charts:

  • Bribery and chore charts don’t support kids in becoming intrinsically-motivated to help the family
  • In cultures outside America, when kids are young, they don’t “shoo” the little ones away when they try to help (check out Hunt, Gather, Parent for the other two secrets to this!)
  • Allow kids to be with you and help you, and start them with a tiny, but still meaningful task

Follow Michaeleen at:
Twitter: @FoodieScience
Contact her via email

Book Recommendation:
Hunt Gather Parent by Michaeleen Doucleff
Self-Driven Child by Ned Johnson

Check out KWE’s #patch4apurpose to support 1, or all 8, charities:

Today’s Hosts: @laurenrodycheberle and @cldowsett from @kidswhoexplore
Production: @kpmediaproductions. Music: @michaelferraro_music.