Now after reaching the grand total of 6 myself I realize that my mother did me a slight disservice while preserving her sanity. I never quite figured out how to finish a job right until I got to college. I vowed I'd teach my kids responsibility... and being responsible enough to follow through with my plan is kicking my butt right now but hey, my heads still above water and I'm paddling!
Here's a few tricks I've learned to get your kids to work- and I've got the scars to prove it!
- Let them know what's expected. Keep a chart, or schedule and be consistent with the chores that are on it.
- Teach them how to do the job right. This is huge. If your 10 year old doesn't know how to clean a bathroom correctly (like what accumulates on those little bolts that hold the toilet to the floor) it may be due to a lack of instruction. Kids need to be shown, taught and then practice doing a job over and over before they master it.
- Let them be accountable for their job. When the job is completed the kids need to show accountability by crossing it of a list, or checking a box that it's complete. This is your signal that the job needs final approval and a quick parent check. Don't be afraid to tell your 'lil punky that it doesn't quite meet the expected standard you taught her and needs to be completed properly.
- Assign specific jobs to a child until he/she master them. Remember, we mums are teaching life skills and responsibility. Learning to clean a toilet properly, setting the table correctly, doing the windows or feeding the dog are all skills that they need to learn. You might even consider giving your 12 year old the job of checking your oil each week or making appointments for haircuts or Dr. visits. Our kids need to be taught these skills sometime before they leave home and it OUR JOB to teach them!
- Teach them they're a member of a family and have a responsibility to contribute. This one is hard. In the early days of children's chores, kids didn't have to be convinced that what they did was important. If Johnny didn't milk the cow, the cow went crazy and the family had no milk. If Joey didn't bring the wood, there might not be a fire for cooking supper. If Emma didn't fetch water, well... you get the idea. There were hard consequences for not doing your work... and that reality still exists in the world. Life is so convenient now but the principle of responsibility remains and our kids need to contribute. SOOOO... around this house it's not uncommon for a kid who skips jobs to skip dinner too! If everyone is slacking... dinner isn't served until the work is complete. Hard consequences, but they work!
- Love them and Create memories. My boys and girls don't forget how to clean a toilet because we laugh pretty good during the instruction process. They know EXACTLY which gender pees where on the toilet seat. The girls eeww and gross out when they see how boys don't aim, and the boys eeww and gross out when they see how much T.P. the girls use (because it clogs the toilet). WELL!! It does! We make instruction time fun... and memorable.
How are YOU herding your Chipmunks through Chore time?