The Little Red Hen Breakfast




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Do you remember the classic Childrens' story about the Little Red Hen?

No?  Click here to read it:

To watch (highly recommended!) the charming vintage cartoon, click here: 

It's a great story about family values and work ethic. It helps teach children the benefits and rewards that come from Teamwork... and that's what a family is... a TEAM! 

Maybe you've got a proverbial slacker in your family.  The child who's always too busy playing a game on his/her Xbox to help carry the groceries into the house.... or one that faithfully forgets to make the salad or set the table because they're too busy texting a friend who just walked out the door 5 minutes ago. 

If you're tired of asking and asking for help until your blue in the face, there's a really simple cure...

It's called The Little Red Hen Breakfast!

Actions always speak louder than words.  It's imperative that you stand your ground without talking/explaining/justifying/apologizing to your child/children if they "earn" a Little Red Hen Breakfast. Whatever you do, don't LAUGH when you see their puzzled expression. 8-/

You may want to print off a copy of the Story for them to read... or have them watch the Utube Cartoon linked above before the meal is served. They'll understand perfectly and they'll learn a valuable Life Lesson. 

This breakfast is especially effective if you can serve the delicious COOKED version to a Team Player and let the lazybones watch them eat it

Of course you don't want to starve the poor child. After you've returned the uncooked breakfast to the frig, a simple bowl of unsugared cold cereal without milk is a perfectly nourishing. 

You shouldn't have to do this more than once... and thank goodness!  It will hurt you a lot more than it hurts them.

Then again... some kids are just really stubborn. You may just have the opportunity to serve them a Little Red Hen Dinner, too! ;-) 



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    11 Discussions


    7 years ago on Introduction

    This is a great 'ible. I think it is a good idea to teach children the results of actions(or inactions) and consequences.
    To many kids today walk through life with the attitude that the world owes them something, because mommy and daddy bowed to their kids every whim and whine so that their precious little snowflake could be happy.
    There is nothing wrong with teaching a child good manners and responsibility for their actions.

    1 reply

    I am sorry, but I have 2 problems with this instructable. First, being a negative instructable I don't think it follows with the positive how-to spirit of the website. A better choice than "how to punish your kids" would have been how to encourage them to help out. For example: The kids didn't like to help with dinner until we made personal pizza and they used the toppings to decorate their pizzas with smiley faces, flowers, and dinosaurs. Or: My kids balked at doing chores until I rewarded them with playtime for a job well done instead of rewarding them with more chores.

    Secondly, I know you meant well but there are a lot of abusive and dysfunctional families out there who would twist this idea from an object lesson into an extreme punishment for all manner of minor misbehaviors, forcing the child to actually choke down the raw meal. Those parents don't need any new ideas.

    Again, I am sorry I couldn't be more supportive, but you still have time to submit another contest entry using the Fun Personal Pizza idea. Or Fun Open Face Sandwich. Go for it.

    5 replies

    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    No offense taken.

    You clearly don't understand the Red Hen Philosophy if you perceive it as "punishment".

    Excelling in the real, grown-up world requires a good work-ethic, partnered with a sense of responsibility and an acute understanding of accountability.

    If you choose to reward bad behavior and bribe your children for their simple cooperation, I sincerely hope it works out for you.

    Let's agree to disagree... and I'll leave the personal pan pizzas in your capable hands. Best of Luck to you! ;-)


    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    I don't think you understood my comment. I referred to your Little Red Hen Meal as an "object lesson, which indicates that i do indeed understand the red hen fable. In fact, I read that book decades before the internet and websites were invented.

    Trying to make work fun when possible is not the same as rewarding bad behavior and tolerating tantrums. My son has grown up to be a responsible young adult who turned a seasonal temporary job into permant work because of his work ethic. He also has the respect of his co-workers. He has always been expected to pitch in and help and to be accountable for his actions.

    My concern was that not all families are headed by sane, rational adults. Hopefully the deomgraphic that would misuse this technique is not big fans of Instructables.


    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    In my opinion, you truly do consider the Little Red Hen Breakfast an ABJECT Life Lesson.

    The diversion of suggesting I might bear any responsibility or be held accountable (should this instructable be used as a tool for child abuse) is both obvious and absurd.

    The "Devil-made-me-do-it" is an obsolete defense that absolves the guilty party of personal accountability. It's contrary to entire concept of this instructable.

    I absolutely did understand your comment and concerns.

    It's your logic I find faulty, convoluted and creepy... especially coming from a person who uses a cat as a trampoline. ;-)


    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    Jumping in here - interesting discussion, and one I might be able to contribute to as an educator. I think you are both right, but about different things. Bajablue, you are teaching consequences with this -ible - of both actions and inactions. It's not a punishment, simply the natural outcome of laziness. It can be even more effective if one child makes the toast, another sets the table, maybe you make the eggs... and the lazybones, who refuses to help, gets the raw version, or perhaps has to serve themselves the cold cereal.

    CatTrampoline, you are absolutely right that positive reinforcement is a better teacher than punishment. Research (and common sense) prove that over and over. This is very different from bribery. Bribery is offering an unrelated treat or reward prior to the action. Positive reinforcement is the sense of reward you get from accomplishment. This can be strengthened by structures set by the parents. For example, in real life, if you get your chores (work) done, you can play! Go on vacation, watch a movie, whatever. That's a natural outcome. Procrastinating means bad things - bill collectors, bugs in a dirty house, foreclosure, repossession, job loss - so it's a good lesson to learn. Making chores fun will also mean they are more likely to be maintained, and not rejected, once the child leaves the home.

    At a school where I used to work, we had no janitors and had to clean ourselves. I used to take the last fifteen minutes of the day and split the children into teams. We would rotate jobs. In the room with more drudgery (the kitchen), I would play music of the children's choice, and we would sing along while sweeping, mopping and wiping. It was a blast!


    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    lol... what you probably smell is delicious, hot BREAKFAST because you're such a great kid. ;-D

    Don't forget to hug your Mom and thank her. ;-)