November 22, 2017
Parenting can be a messy business. And we all know who is mostly to blame! A big part of raising well-rounded kids is getting them to take some responsibility, at an age-appropriate level, for helping to turn the chaos (their bedrooms, the family kitchen and our living rooms!) back to order.
Speaking from experience, if you start them early with chores, resistance is more limited, and doing the jobs will eventually become a habit.
One task we gave to our eldest son was hoovering the living room once a week. Now he’s been doing the job for so long, he’ll grab the vacuum cleaner if it’s looking bad without being asked. It’s his job, a part of his contribution to the family – and he takes pride in it.
Young ones usually love copying Mum and Dad, so getting started is fairly easy. There will come a time though, when you will meet with resistance. This is when you need to keep your nerve, and regularly remind yourself of what a huge favour you’re doing them by preparing them for later life. At times, you’ll be tempted to take over because you can do it better, faster and with less fuss. Don’t give in – at least till they’re in bed! They need to own their own chores. These little things may seem silly, but they do have an effect.
You’ve doubtless noticed there’s been no mention of rewards or incentives yet, and that’s not an accident. While there is nothing wrong with offering rewards, especially if you’re starting with older children, you will be doing your kids a great service by aiming to make these chores expected behaviour. The best reward to aim for is helping the family.
It may be hard work, and potentially boring for them – but if they learn the value of these lessons, and get into good habits when they’re young, both you and they will reap rewards in the end.