We have a theme going this month—hopefully helping you get your kids lined up and organized for the summer. This includes schedules, chores, and hopefully imposing a little order on how your days go this summer. Typically, summer is a time of fly by the seat of your pants improvisation for moms and kids alike. Which is fine, sometimes. Many of us welcome the break from the rigidity of school year calendars, while some of us dread it. Or maybe we all fit in there in the middle somewhere. I know I do. However, one of the things I love about the summer is the flexibility to do with it what I want! And this summer is no exception.
My situation is probably a little different from many of you. My kids are older now (the youngest is 8), making it much easier for me to put them to work independently while I get things done. They can do a lot of helpful things around the house, too, lightening my housekeeping load and learning some life skills along the way! Which brings me to my main point today: kids need chores. They need responsibilities, even tiny ones (tiny people and tiny jobs). And the sooner you start them doing chores, the better—it becomes a part of their normal routine.
Here are some things to remember when giving kids chores:
- Set expectations. When the chore is to “straighten bedroom” tell them what that means. Be specific, and be ready to remind them (probably a couple of times) what your expectations are. Once they get the hang of a task, you won’t have to keep telling them what you mean when you assign them the task.
- Be realistic. A 6 year old will have different abilities than a 10 year old. His vacumming job is just not going to be like yours. Keep that in mind when you assign jobs and make sure the tasks are age-appropriate. (I have a list of jobs by age coming out in my next newsletter. Be sure you’re signed up!)
- Don’t redo the job. If your daughter worked hard to mop the kitchen floor, and you went behind her and redid it, how will she feel? Why would she try the next time she does a job if she knows you’re going to just do it yourself anyway? It can be tricky, especially if you are detail-oriented, but instead of redoing it, try this: “Great job honey! Let me show you a trick I’ve learned for next time you do it.”
- It’s not about you. If it were, you could just hire a cleaning crew and call it a day. Chores are about learning life skills, developing fine and gross motor skills, being part of the family, and learning to be responsible. Remember that is your main goal, especially when kids are younger and just learning to do a lot of the tasks.
- Keep it in perspective. This shouldn’t make or break your day. Sometimes, kids will pitch in, do the jobs, and be awesome. Sometimes, they will be jerks and you’ll have to nag them the whole day. Most days, they’ll fall somewhere in the middle. Just try to remember that it’s not the end of the world, it’s just chores, and you’ll all survive!
So that’s it! Kids can do a lot of chores and help you out, if you let them. They’ll also go off into the world knowing how to make a bed, do laundry, clean a kitchen, and take out the garbage. Not a bad deal when you think about it! How do you get your kids to do their chores? Weigh in on my Facebook page!