‘Fixer Upper’: The Best Parenting Advice We Can Learn From Chip and Joanna Gaines

Chip and Joanna Gaines know a thing or two about parenting. With five children ranging in age from 13 to 1, these Fixer Upper parents have gone through the infant stage, the terrible twos, school age, and adolescence a few times. And yet they somehow make it look so easy.

The reason that HGTV’s Fixer Upper became one of the most popular shows on television wasn’t just because of Chip and Joanna renovating talents — though they certainly had an abundance of those, too. But part of their enormous appeal was catching a glimpse into life at the Gaines family farm where children and animals roamed free. It all looked like the American Dream come to life.

Chip and Joanna Gaines aren’t certified parenting experts. But they are doing a few things right. Here are a few tips that any moms and dads can follow if they crave that idyllic Fixer Upper life.

Forget fancy toys and huge playrooms

As a minimalist who doesn’t even own a television, Joanna Gaines doesn’t care about buying her kids the latest gaming system or stuffing a playroom filled with fancy toys. Instead, she encourages more creative play using simple methods, like building blocks, dolls, or even running around outside making up games.

Good news about this method of limiting toys: it costs a lot less money!

Age-appropriate chores teach responsibility

Living on a farm means there’s always work to be done. Chip Gaines admitted that he loves waking up before the sun and tending to the animals, but he’s not doing it alone. The Gaineses fully expect their kids to pitch in and help out around the house to the extent that they’re able.

For example, the older Gaines children collect eggs from the chickens and help with feeding the animals, too. It’s all teaching them to be independent and responsible adults, plus makes them feel like valued members of the family.

Working moms should ditch the guilt

Joanna Gaines knows the turmoil that comes from working outside the home and raising kids.

She shared in a 2016 blog post, “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 then she continued on, saying her work shows the kids the value of doing something you love.

She wrote, “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.”

Break the rules (sometimes)

Certain safety rules are non-negotiable. But in the Gaines household, staying up past bedtime or having ice cream for dinner every once in a while is such a delightful treat for the children. Chip and Joanna Gaines have a laid-back, live and let live approach to parenting that their kids surely appreciate.

Let your kids learn by doing

It can be tempting to jump in and help young children do everything. But instead of rushing to their aid, sometimes it’s helpful to let them figure it out themselves.

For example, Joanna Gaines allowed her daughter to start a plant collection if she was able to care for them herself. “I told her she would get a new plant every month if she keeps up with all her little cuties,” Joanna wrote on Instagram. “We are running out of space.”

Family time is everything

Family time is so important to the Gaines family that Chip and Joanna left their hit show Fixer Upper because it was becoming too much of a time commitment. It’s all proof that the Gaineses value family time over everything else — including fame and fortune.

Get outside

No television means the Gaines kids spend lots of time outdoors. And it helps that Chip and Joanna bought a farmhouse set on 40 sprawling acres to raise their family. With so many comforts of home, it can be tempting to sit in the air conditioning. But instead, a bit of fresh air and running around can help kids thrive.

Don’t be so serious – get silly instead

Both Chip and Joanna Gaines aren’t afraid to show their silly sides. Life is too short to be so serious all the time. Instead, laugh with your kids and do crazy antics just like the Gaineses.

The seeds you plant now last a lifetime

Joanna Gaines posted one viral post of a butterfly bush she planted outside the girls’ room that had recently grown. She compared the planting and blooming and as a metaphor for life, saying the seeds you plant now will flourish in the future.

“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 on Instagram. “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.”

“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.”

“Be encouraged today to keep pressing in and tending to their hearts. It will be worth it,” Joanna Gaines promises.

We think she’s absolutely right!

Chip and Joanna Gaines
Chip and Joanna Gaines | Laura Cavanaugh/WireImage