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Grow the CAN-DO & DIY Mindset

I’m often asked how we “made Dale so motivated and actually get things done”.

How can you grow the can-do & DIY mindset?


Most of it had nothing to do with us “making him” but letting him.

It had more to do with not immediately filling his every want and then allowing and helping him figure out how to get what he wanted.

We also let him work along with us no matter what we were doing.

And this started EARLY.  Dale was a busy baby.   A sleepless wonder, I used to say.  When you have a high energy, low sleep child paired with older, tired parents ..well, the way we handled it was we let him DO things. Lots of things.  Anything  he was capable of that would use up some of his energy instead of ours. He didn’t talk early but he could MOVE and follow directions.

“Can you find a diaper? Go pick out a book. Can you find some socks? “

And not too much later we let him help in whatever ways he could with anything we needed to do : cooking, cleaning, gardening, laundry, shopping, building something in the house or yard, fixing the car or dishwasher, packing for a trip. Even if it took a bit longer, or wasn’t done as well as if we’d done it ourselves, we let him take responsibility for getting things done. I think the payoff was enormous.

We let him do things with us when that is all a child really wants to do is imitate and be with  mom and dad.

Grow the Can-DO DIY Mindset. Young Dale Stephens in construction hat helping his dad build a playhouse.
Joy of helping, doing and creating.

Soon, he was not just working with us on our projects, but dreaming up and carrying out projects of his own.

Full disclosure,  we did not have a computer until he was 6 or later , We had no television until he was 10. 

He didn’t have the option of watching something while we worked. I guess this may have had an even bigger impact  than I thought it would.



It ‘s so exciting to see the ingenuity and drive kids show when working on something they create and care about, whether it’s Caine’s  fabulous cardboard arcade or an UnCollege movement.

If we let them and encourage them, children like to help, create, and follow through on their curiosity and dreams.

Growing the CAN-DO & DIY Mindset LisaNalbone.comMost people like to help and create, to dream and to do.


How about you?

How do you try to grow the can-do and DIY mindset?

5 thoughts on “Grow the CAN-DO & DIY Mindset”

  1. Pingback: The Problem with “Quality Time” | Lisa Nalbone

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  3. Thanks, Sam. Sometimes it is so hard to back off -especially as they get older and the projects get bigger! And really, we were so bleary eyed most of the time, we used any moments we could to rest – so we didn’t think of ourselves as backing off as much as taking a break : ).

  4. Beautiful post! What a great reminder for me to back off with the hovering and let them do it for themselves. Thank you!

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