Sometimes I get teased by friends about how much my kids help around the house. Then I wonder if I work them too hard. I’ve decided I don’t.
My kids have no daily chores. They empty the dishwasher when it is their turn. They are responsible for their personal hygiene and getting their things ready for school or practice. I expect a bed made and their room straightened up more days than not, and that they put their laundry away.
Other than that jobs are on an as-needed basis. If I’m folding laundry and a kid isn’t doing much, they can help. The table needs set or groceries are being carried in? Help out.
On our Friday Night Blitz nights we all work together. My kids know how to do a decent job of cleaning a bathroom, dusting, running the vacuum and generally straightening things up.
However, that doesn’t mean I feel too badly when my kids are working and I’m not. They realize that sometimes I work a lot when they aren’t doing anything. So if their job is to straighten the drawers in their dresser, mine might be to read another chapter in my current book of choice. That’s OK because when I’m cooking dinner they just might be reading or playing video games.
Hear are a couple of things I’ve learned along the way when it comes to having children take part in household chores.
- Lower your expectations. How old are you? When you were their age did you do the same quality job you do now?
- But still make the jobs challenging. Show the children you trust them with tough jobs and believe in them to accomplish the task at hand.
- Let go & let them do it. No one likes to be corrected at every turn. Soon enough the job will need done again.
- Think of it as a learning experience. Over time the improvement will be worth it.
- Don’t make it a punishment. It is a fact of life that when you live with people you should share the work.
- Praise them. And if you can’t praise much about the job they just did, maybe you can praise the attitude with which they did the job or at least that they took the time to do it & put some effort into it.
So while I may have friends that think I’m a little tough on the kids, actually making them put their clothes away or clean something, I think they secretly wish they could send their kids to my “boot camp” once in a while. What these friends don’t see is that when my kids are having a hectic week their laundry may mysteriously hang itself up in their closets and their beds are miraculously made when they arrive home from school. Because it is also important to cut each other some slack when it’s needed.
**One friend actually told her 12 year old daughter recently that she was going to send her to my house for a week…to which this friend’s husband quickly added “so does that mean we get her daughter for a week!”