I love your ideas, but even more, how gangbusters your family is to do everything you come up with!

I know that’s not a question but I wanted to put it in here because I want to make sure people know that my family doesn’t jump in with both feet to the majority of the things I suggest…darn it! As I mentioned in this post, I come up with all kinds of new things I want us to do as a family on a daily basis and even though most of them are good ideas, only a few of them make the cut. With a family of seven very different opinions I have to choose my battles and I have to be flexible. But I do think that it’s so important to choose a few things that are very important that will make the cut despite some frowns and complaints from the kids. There’s something about making that strong family identity that is so very important as far as I’m concerned.

Click here, here, here and here for some of the ideas I really feel have been important to push in our family.

I was wondering if you could share your blog settings for all the widths. I remember you said it’s 650 pixels wide, but is that the whole blog or the one side? I’ve tried 1200 pixels for the whole thing and 650 for the text side, and 300 for the links…do you understand what I’m asking you? If you could share that information I would sure appreciate it. 🙂

My main text area is 660 and my sidebar is 350. My header is 1000 pixels. I’m not sure how wide the whole thing is including the spaces, etc. I wish I “spoke” computer better but I hope that helps!

My question is how do you determine how many activities each child can participate in and do they chose or do you? Are there any activities you continue throughout summer – like music lessons?

This is a tough one! My unwritten rule in “theory” is that each child should be able to be involved in one sport and one extracurricular activity at any one time. But the problem with that is that each child is different, and each parent is different too. Each family is different for that matter. Some want to be busy all the time, some want time to sit and read and have family dinner every night, etc. Some kids want to be really, really good at one particular thing, and others are just fine to dabble in a few things and be more well-rounded. (Reading “Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother” prompted me to write this post about this topic.)

The bottom line is that I think every family has to be very deliberate and conscientious about how much to take on because in our society it is SO easy to get involved in too many things. And family time IS so important. It bugs me every once in a while when it hits that in order to play some sports you have to start your child when they are tiny and put them in club teams non-stop (at least where we live). Where is the room for childhood? But I know there are families out there who make it all work beautifully and my hat is off to them for that. Each family situation is just so unique. I had this discussion with my sister this week and found out that she has her children pay half for the things they want to be involved in (a great way to combat entitlement!). Every family has their own way of doing it.

Dave and I really try to make sure our children have the opportunity to at least try anything they are really interested in. They can choose some things but they all have to take piano. Sorry charlie, but piano is so important as far as I’m concerned. Maybe it’s just because I wish I were better at it…

They practice piano in the summer as part of their summer goals but other than that we pretty much quit all lessons because we’re not around that much.

I REALLY hope you can give some insight on my Q.. How do you feel about your kids in sports particularly, boys (i have 4) 4,7,11,13.. and how aggressive you and your husband feel your son should take the sport he is in. My 12 yr old can hold his own. But my 11 yr old is only semi good in what he does. His peers are REALLY good, and some of them let him and his friends know he is NOT good and should quit. How would you and your husband feel if you ever heard your son’s peers say that? I say peers, not friends.. hope you can calm me down and give me some good thoughts.

I’m so sorry because I know from experience that someone saying something not-so-nice about your child is SO hard for a mom to hear! This question was from a while ago so I’d love to hear if there are any thoughts this particular mother has had on it since then, but my thoughts would be to try to get those two boys involved in completely different sports. That will ease up the pressure on the competition. And I’d have a heart-to-heart with the one who may need a little boost of confidence and tell him all the things he’s wonderful at. (He may not be too old for the “finger-talent” idea 🙂

Please give me details about the jobs your children do to earn their keep around the house.

That one has been asked a bunch so I’m just including our Saturday job charts (they customized these with their own fonts:
These need to be re-vamped when school starts again but you get the basic idea. I realized long ago that I had to get pretty detailed on what I wanted them to do. They color in those little circles next to each task when they’re done.

More on the day-to-day jobs next week…

Have a great weekend!

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  1. I LOVE Friday Q & A's. Do your kids ever fight? They seem to be so loving and happy all of the time. If they do fight (which, I'm assuming they do), how do you help them resolve conflict?

  2. I love the chore page idea! Do you pay them for chores or is this just something they have to do?! I pay mine 50 cents to a dollar depending on the chore and wondered if I should be doing that….they have to keep their room clean, but they don't get paid for that. They get paid for folding laundry, emptying dishwasher, vacuuming and stuff like that!

  3. Your chore charts look so fun that I want to do them!!! ( the chores I mean!)
    thanks for sharing all of your wonderful ideas.
    Here's a question for next week. If your kids are really good at something, a particular sport for example, do you make them do it even if they don't want to?
    My son is so talented, but doesn't love the intensity and committment, which I must admit, is year round, esp. summer. He's 17 now and will be in college in the fall, so I guess it's no longer an issue. But there was scholarship potential…scouting and everything and he just didn't want to do it anymore. My hubby wouldn't make him, but I would have!! I felt the investment would have been worth it. Guess God will tell me in Heaven!!

  4. I love the Friday Q&As! I really like your chore charts. I love that they're so detailed. I also love that you let the kids customise the fonts themselves. As a visual person I think a personalised font must be a whole lot more motivating.

  5. Hey, I just wanted to "contribute" what we did with our boys. We have two that are not very competative, or even athletic, but I wanted them to be active and have something to be involved in. I found that the absolute answer was to put them in an individual sport. Like golf or karate. There is still a level of competition, but it's more about trying to be your own best. Not "for the sake of the team".
    Love the Saturday chores! We've got to work on that around here…

  6. sconeShawni– thank you for the job chart examples. love this– tried it this morning. the bubbles were KEY! no push back bc of those bubbles! hope you are enjoying summer. hugs to you. big hellos for saydi and saren. xo monica

  7. I really have enjoyed your Q&A Fridays. Thanks for sharing! I do have a question: You and Max obviously have a wonderful relationship, which is saying something as he is in those turbulent teen years. I have three boys (4, 3, and 4 months), and I desperately want to build a positive relationship with them, but sometimes I feel like all I do with my older two is nag and scold (I know a lot of that has to do with their ages). What things have you done with Max through the years, particularly his preschool years, to foster and develop the positive relationship you two have?

  8. I am a young mother (ages 4, 2, and a baby) and I would LOVE to hear what life was like for you when you were in that stage. How did you handle the constant craziness? How did you discipline? (Time outs, spanking, ???) Sometimes my kids go to bed and I think "today was a total FAIL!" Any other general advice for this stage would be wonderful! Thank you. 🙂

  9. I love your Q&A's. I also have a Mac and use lightroom. I was wondering how you upload your pictures straight to lightroom without them going into iphoto first? I hate having to export them from iphoto to lightroom every time. I hope this is not a stupid question. Thanks.

  10. I love your blog. It is so uplifting. I can't wait for you to come to Logan's T.O.F.W. because I'll be driving down and I hope I can meet you!

  11. What age do you think is best to start piano? My son is going into Kindergarden and I was going to start him in piano lessons at the same time, but the teacher said she likes to wait until first grade. Thoughts? Thanks!

  12. First of all I love your blog! It's the first one I look for updates on in my reader. I love all your parenting ideas, and am wondering some things were you did when your kids were really young (like under 5, toddlers, etc). Discipline, traditions, etc.. I have really young kids and am always looking for new ideas.

  13. I am a new follower of yours. I love the chore ideas you shared! I'm curious to know if your children cook or help you cook? I have been wondering how to incorporate teaching my children how to cook into our routine. I'm not a good cook, nor do I like to do it, but I don't want to pass that attitude off onto my children. My kids are still too young to take much responsibility in the kitchen, but I try to let them 'help' where possible. Thanks for any suggestions you may have!

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