Chores are one of those necessary evils of adulthood. If you want a clean house, clothes and yard, chores are the means to that end. Kids are great for free labor, but sometimes it might seem easier to just do the chores by yourself.
At some point in their young lives most kids want to be helpful. Whether from a sense of curiosity or a desire to copy what you’re doing, a kid will ask to “help” you.
How are your children going to learn to fold laundry, wash dishes, or take out the trash if you don’t teach them? Kids have an insatiable desire to learn. Teach them some life skills that will keep them from being the smelly kid at school or the sloppy roommate who gets kicked out of the apartment.
Speaking of that sloppy roommate, by letting your kids help with chores (and making it fun or providing a monetary incentive) you can begin to help them form healthy habits. Cleaning the bathroom regularly, washing the dishes after dinner, and cycling the laundry thru more than once a month.
There aren’t many people who like chores, but most of us enjoy the result. I don’t get a kick out of washing dishes or raking leaves, but I do it because I love LK (and I like to eat off clean plates). By doing chores with your kids you are communicating the value of family and everyone helping each other. A chore might be yucky, but you can find joy in it by serving others.
Are there any chores you loathe to do? Train your kid(s) to do it. I used to faithfully take the trash out every week (okay, 90% of the time), but with our growing family it became a major chore every Monday night that I dreaded. Guess who takes out the trash now? My 11-year-old son. And it’s worth every penny of his weekly commission.
If you’re a little kid and Daddy keeps saying, “No thanks. Go play while I clean up.”, do you keep asking? Of course not. Then, when you’re a teenager, Daddy wonders why you’re lazy and unhelpful. There are obviously other factors at play, but it’s something to think about. It’s important to encourage a helpful heart.
The strength of your immediate family is tied to the amount of time you spend together and the activities you do together. Use chores as an opportunity to bond with your kids. Make it fun and add music or share stories. Chores don’t have to be a negative experience. I remember plenty of water fights in the kitchen and blaring music while vacuuming the living room.
I don’t always have an easy time letting my kids help with chores, but I rarely regret it.
Questions: how are you teaching your kids the shared responsibility of family?
Photo cc by donger on Flickr.