Just like we talked about last Friday, we are starting a series of posts all about tackling our home. With it being the middle of winter, we are mostly stuck inside day in and day out. Having everyone inside for months can make for some household challenges, to say the least. Our goal in this series is to bring about some of our families biggest struggles with this, and show you how we are managing it all. Hopefully, you will be able to relate and get something from each post.
Our biggest challenge as parents has to be get our whole family on board with chores. No one likes doing chores, but by working together as a family, we are able to accomplish a lot more in less time. This of course leaves more time for play, and everyone likes that. By focusing on all the benefits of getting the kids involved in chores, we are able to not only expect their help, but show them why their help is go beneficial to them and us as a family. What do I mean by focusing on these benefits? What I mean is that when your child starts to give you attitude about helping with the housework we are able to pull out of our hat one of these benefits. We are able to talk about how important it is for them to help and why. Kids LOVE to have their why questions answered, and by talking to them about these benefits we are able to give them those answers. What are these benefits to the kids we are talking about?
- Respect for our home – When you spend time caring for something you are more apt to gain respect for it. By helping with the chores kids are able to see the work they put in helps our home, and they gain respect for it.
- Roles in the family – Everyone has a place in a family. Someone has to earn the money, someone has to take out the garbage, someone has to feed the cats, etc. Each job is given to a family member based on their skills and age. Feeding the cats would be a great job for a preschooler. Taking out the garbage would fit for a teenager. By growing up and seeing how their jobs change based on their age, they are able to learn how each part in the family help to keep us whole.
- Teamwork – Just like roles in the family, everyone is able to see how having different jobs helps us to work as a team and get the jobs done quicker. The kids learn to help their brothers get their jobs done if they want to play outside. By working as a team they can get all the jobs completed so much quicker and see how their teamwork played into how much time they get to play outside.
- Organization skills – Organizational skills are needed for so many parts of our lives. By helping to keep the house in order, the kids are learning these valuable skills for when they have their own place, and even before. These skills carry over to keeping their desks organized for school, organizing their outside toys so they can find what they are looking for and so much more. Every job they do around the house adds value and skills they will be able to use later on in life.
- Living in Peace – By having an organized home, we as a family are able to live more peacefully. Everyone just feels more relaxed when a home is neat. Yeah, it looks lived in a lot of the time, but the house is organized and everyone can find what they are looking for (most of the time). By working as a team there isn’t much arguing about who does what chore or if they are fair. Everyone knows that as they get older new chores will be added and taken away. And the benefit of having a nice, clean, organized home outweighs the job of the chores themselves.
- Contentment for what we have – This kind of goes back to respect for the home because if the kids are able to learn to respect the house and things around them, then they are more apt to be content with what they have. They start to take pride in what they are working on and appreciate everything more. Everyone loves getting gifts, but when those gifts cause the kids to have more to pick up they start to question whether they really need a new anything.
- Work ethic – One day my little munchkins will be out in the workforce. Because they have been doing simple chores since they were little they have been learning how much work it takes to keep up a home. They have been learning that by working hard we are able to have a much nicer home. All this adds up to work ethic. If the kids are able to learn these simple, but oh so important lessons now, then when they enter the workforce they should have some very happy bosses.
- Perseverance – Just like work ethic the kids learn that they have to persevere through the jobs. Some jobs take longer than others. Some like shoveling in the winter seem to be never-ending when it is snowing. But by persevering through the tasks they are able to see good outcomes. All those challenges with chores add to their skill sets and help them to persevere when things get hard in life, and not just with jobs.
So how did we get our kids doing chores in the first place? Well, we started when they were really little.
- When they were 1 and walking I might ask them to hand me the kitchen towel when I was busy in the kitchen.
- When they were 2-3 I might have them crawl under the kitchen table and with a hand broom sweep up the crumbs from lunch.
- At 4-5 I would have them feeding the cats and picking up their own bath toys.
- At 6-7 they would start helping with putting away the dishes when they were done in the dishwasher.
- By 8 or 9 they were helping to sweep and mop the floors, and tidy up an entire room (that was just slightly lived in).
- My preteens at 10-12 would be helping to shovel, starting to learn how to use a lawn mower and taking control of specific areas of the home for a given time. This might be the kitchen counter or the living room.
- From 13 on they start taking on more responsibility around the home. My teen loves to help fit things around the house. So for now, when things break everyone goes to him to see if it can be fixed before throwing anything out.
Now having said all this, every kid is different and develops at different rates. There are many sites that will give out lists of chores for specific ages or genders of kids. Take some time to look some up, but always trust your gut. You are the parent and know your kid best. Spend some time working with your child the first time they tackle a chore. This helps them to feel comfortable doing the job and gives them pointers on how to complete it to your satisfaction. Last by not least; please take it slow. If your kids are not doing chores currently start small and work your way up. Let them gain some confidence in small tasks and they will be much more receptive to tackling bigger tasks. I am guessing that you will be shocked when they start asking for more jobs. Everyone loves to feel useful and by giving kids chores they are able to feel like they are needed.
So what is on the agenda for next week? We will be talking about all those Coats, Boots and Mittens, Oh My. What are we to do with all of them and how do we keep them all from disappearing with the sock monster.
Until then, if you haven’t already, subscribe to our site, up above on the right, so you don’t miss any of our upcoming posts. Check us out on Facebook or Twitter, and comment away. I love to hear what you have to say. Every comment can help or encourage others, and that is what this blog is all about.