- Chip and Joanna Gaines might be most well-known for their home-remodeling and interior-decorating skills on “Fixer Upper,” but the parents of five also seem to know a little something about raising a family.
- Although the couple has said they are strict about giving their kids chores and prioritizing family time, they also have said they make sure to have fun with their children.
- Joanna Gaines has stressed that it’s important to make time for one’s family, but it’s also important for parents to make time for themselves and know that they “are enough.”
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Chip and Joanna Gaines have a lot on their plate including a successful television show on HGTV, a Magnolia home-decor line, and a farm. They also have five children.
Although the dynamic duo might be beloved for their hijinks and interior-design prowess on HGTV’s “Fixer Upper,” they also seem to know a little something about parenting and raising their family.
Here is some helpful parenting advice we can learn from Chip and Joanna Gaines.
You don’t need the latest toys to entertain your kids
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Our house has been full with nine kids this week since my sister has been in town. These cups have been the favorite toy of choice. From the one year old who knocks them down every time someone builds them up to the eleven year old who tries to stack the cups as high as the ceiling… If you're looking for cheap family fun, Go buy a pack of plastic cups!? ????
The “Fixer Upper” stars have made no secret of the fact that they don’t own a television and encourage their kids to get creative when it comes to making their own toys.
Whether it’s making mountains out of paper cups or using toilet-paper rolls as a throne for their dolls, kids can have fun using the materials they have on hand.
Giving your kids chores can help them learn responsibility
In addition to teaching their kids about the family business and getting them involved in episodes of “Fixer Upper,” the couple also gives their kids chores around the farm like collecting eggs from their chickens.
Age-appropriate chores can instill a sense of responsibility in kids from a young age and help them learn the meaning of hard work. Plus, research has shown that having chores as children is beneficial for people later in life, according to VeryWell.
“Doing chores also helps kids feel like they’re part of the team. Pitching in and helping family members is good for them and it encourages them to be good citizens,” Amy Morin, a licensed clinical social worker, wrote for VeryWell.
Enjoy being in the moment and don’t be too hard on yourself
In a Mother’s Day post she shared on her blog in 2016, Joanna opened up about experiencing feelings of “not doing enough” while raising her kids and juggling a career.
“As a working mom, it’s the hardest when my kids grab onto me as I’m walking out the door and say, ‘Mommy please stay home!'” she wrote. “I don’t want to ignore that, so I always explain to them that being with them is my favorite thing in the world.”
But she shared a simple tip for being more transparent and giving kids insight into your work life, too.
She continued, “I explain that I have to work just like they have to go to school. I also let them know what I’m doing at work that day – whether it’s filming the show or going into the office – and what time I’ll be home.”
Don’t sweat the small stuff
Sometimes picking and choosing your battles can be important when it comes to effective parenting.
Although Chip and Joanna Gaines have admitted to being strict in some aspects of their kids’ lives, like outdoor playtime and chores, they have said they are more likely to be lax about things like staying up past bedtime if there’s a good reason for it. It’s all about focusing on what’s most important to you and your family.
Rewarding your kids can be a teaching moment
There’s a difference between simply giving gifts to your kids and rewarding them in a way that teaches more responsibility. Joanna gave fellow parents an example of a creative way to provide an incentive for your kids to learn responsibility when she shared an April 2017 Instagram of her daughter watering her plants.
“I told her she would get a new plant every month if she keeps up with all her little cuties,” she wrote. “We are running out of space.”
Prioritize family time whenever you can
Although every family is different and many households have parents who both work, Joanna said that she and Chip do their best to put their phones down and make time for family when they’re at home.
“When I get home from work I try and leave my phone in the car and make that intentional effort to play and connect face to face with them,” she wrote in a 2016 blog post. “Even when I’m tired at the end of a long day, it’s fuel to see the look in their eyes when I ask them to cook with me or go play outside.”
The HGTV star also acknowledged that this isn’t always easy, writing, “As a mom, sometimes I have to change my mindset and remind myself what’s important. I only have so many hours a day to spend with these sweet, little people. And they won’t be little forever. So I get up and keep moving.”
Remember to make time for yourself
That being said, being a good parent also means making sure you’re getting enough “me” time and avoiding burning out.
In a 2016 blog post, “The Magnolia Story” author wrote about focusing on balance and how making sure she felt creatively fulfilled made her a better mother.
“I spent a lot of time focusing on balance,” she wrote. “Nap time was when I got things done. Whether it was folding laundry, prepping dinner, writing my blog or doing design work – that was my time”
Addressing her fellow parents, she advised, “I hope if you’re in this season now you’ll take the time to allow yourself a few minutes a day to do what you love, too. I found it was the thing that kept me balanced and energized.”
Sow the seeds for a close relationship with your kids early on so you can watch them bloom over time
In July 2016, Joanna’s Facebook post about creating a foundation for good parenting through the story of a butterfly bush went viral. In the post, the reality TV star spoke about how she planted a butterfly bush (known for attracting butterflies and other wildlife) by her daughter’s window and forgot about it for five years.
“This morning I found my little Emmie sitting by her window looking excitedly at the bush and saying ‘Here she is! My little hummingbird comes every morning, mom!'” she wrote. “First, I didn’t know she looked out for her bird every morning. Second, I forgot all about the bush and never told her if she looked out the window she would see the prettiest butterflies and hummingbirds gathered around it.”
She then likened the lesson learned from the experience to parenting, writing, “It’s hard not to think this is a lot like parenting … You sow seeds early on and work hard to be intentional and then over time you move on to new lessons and challenges. Then one day you look up and the seeds you planted in your little children’s hearts are now in full bloom.”
Gaines concluded, “Be encouraged today to keep pressing in and tending to their hearts. It will be worth it.”
Try to encourage your children to play outside
Although technology can be handy, there’s nothing like some good old-fashioned outdoor playtime to help your kid have fun and grow.
Chip, who has spoken about how he’s not a fan of “normal technological advances” and how he encourages his children to have fun outside instead of watching television and playing video games seems to know that very well.
Per Claire McCarthy, MD, of Harvard Medical school, having your children play outside can benefit them in many ways, helping them learn to appreciate nature, socialize with other kids, and even learn how to embrace risks and recover from failures.
Don’t be afraid to get a bit goofy with your children
Although Joanna has said that Chip is “The Fun Dad,” she’s also not afraid to have a little fun and get goofy with her kids.
Whether she and her daughter are having an impromptu dance party to “La La Land” or she’s helping whip up a DIY paper robot costume, she seems to know how important it is to have a little bit of impromptu fun with her family.