Sunday, May 18, 2014


I saw a Face Book entry yesterday that went like this:
Dad: "Sarah, I am going to wash dishes and get the dinner ready.  Could you sweep the kitchen floor?"
Sarah: "No, Dad.  Sweeping is not my thing." And she walked out the door.
Obviously something is very wrong with this picture!


Yes! Absolutely!  How else will our children learn how to manage their own households as adults? 

An effective parent:
   a) Trains kids how to perform particular life-skill tasks.
   b) Teaches kids good time management e.g. I do my homework, then my chores, followed by
       dinner, an hour to do what I want, and then off to bed.
   c) Creates opportunities for them and their kids to work together to accomplish an end goal
       e.g. putting toys away, washing the car, creating a meal, growing and tending a garden.
   d) Encourages kids to think of others.  It is not all about them and their needs, but how we
       can best serve each other.  Doing chores, especially without being asked, is a sign of
       respect for others.
   e) Gives kids a sense of value. They enjoy being recognized as a contributing family member
       when they are praised for doing a good job.
   f) Allows for more time to enjoy family activities e.g. once we have done our chores, we can
       go fishing, swim at the lake, or go to the game.
   g) As they get older, children will gain respect because they so willingly take on the responsibility
       to help others.

My husband, Brian, has supervised in the school cafeteria in the past, and occasionally would ask a
child to pick up trash that another child had left behind.  He would often get the retort, "I didn't put it there.
I am not picking it up!"  Wrong answer! 


    a) From the time our kids are two years old they can learn to pick up toys and straighten their
    b) Create the expectation that each family member pulls their weight in the home.  That means
        both parents and kids are busy with household chores.  Your kids are not going to do a perfect
        job immediately so be careful to encourage rather than chide them on their early attempts at
        new chores.
    c) Make up a fair schedule for all the children, changing it around so they learn all tasks as they
        are able.
    d) Create incentives e.g.
        - when they are not reminded to do their chores, they get to spend a little more time doing 
          something they particularly enjoy.
        - they get to be queen or king for the day - can choose the meal they want for dinner.
    e) Have a plan to introduce your kids to more difficult tasks until they are fully equipped with all the
        skills necessary by the time they leave home to lead an independent life.

I know that sometimes we think we can get the job done faster if we do it ourselves.  We find ourselves
doing things because we can't stand our kids protests.  I must confess I have fallen into that trap myself.
However, it doesn't prepare our kids to be great home makers and role models for their children.

Start them doing chores when they are very young and give them lots of encouragement about how their
contribution to the family is making a real difference.  They are much more likely then to be happy to do
their part rather than protesting.

Written by Sally Burgess

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