Have you ever spent time in a household where the younger family members seemed to view themselves as visiting dignitaries, insisting that parents wait on them in a manner that resembles room service at a fine hotel?
Some parents don’t expect their kids to participate in household management: they feel that providing 100% of every aspect of food, clothing and shelter is an important way parents can help children feel loved and secure.
Others believe that helping kids get comfortable with home management skills a little at a time is an excellent way to help them grow and become more independent. They feel:
- participating in household chores increases connection within the family
- regularly completing chores helps to create a habit of ‘taking care of business’
- knowing they make an important contribution to keeping things working within the family contributes to kids’ self esteem as well as enhancing autonomy, discipline and a strong work ethic
And if you’re not sure which end of that spectrum makes sense to you gradually get kids to participate in household chores without adding “Nag Kids About Chores” to your already-full “to do” list?
Lots of people like a chore chart but find it gets stale. What if part of the process was allowing kids to choose their tasks for the week?
Another helpful hint? What about a short checklist to help kids know what constitutes successful completion of the task? A job description of sorts. (This also seems to take a little of the sting out for parents with very high housekeeping standards.)
Sure it can be easier just to take care of things ourselves… but what’s the long-term value of helping kids if learning to balance “house jobs” with the rest of life?