Don’t Do Everything Yourself!
If you are like me, you’ve got too much to do and not enough time! Make the kids’ lunches, fix breakfast, get the kids to school, buy groceries, get the oil changed, bake cookies for church bake sale, and that is just before lunch! Finding time in your busy day to do the housework can sometimes find you overwhelmed. I am fortunate that I don’t have an outside of the home job, so I can be a little more flexible with my cleaning schedule. My disadvantage is I am a little OCD! I absolutely cannot relax at night until the house has been straightened up. I used to do it all myself, but began to slowly realize that all this time I had 2 boys that were perfectly capable of helping!
I began to think of ways that I could bribe them to help at first. I thought about money, candy, gifts, and the like… I realized though that those things would be why they were helping. They would never understand the real reason why they needed to help. I needed them to understand why helping out at home is important. Here are the two main things that we taught them:
- This family is a little community.
Everyone has a job to do and a part to play. If one person’s job doesn’t get done then everyone else suffers because someone else has to do it, and their job. We do not pay for these jobs. (Picking up your toys, taking out the trash, etc.)
- Cleaning-up together breeds togetherness
When you help keep the house clean then there is more time to play together as a family. When Mom and Dad have to do all the housework, and pick up all the toys, there doesn’t leave much time for family time. There’s also nowhere to play if the living room is covered in Legos.
My boys are 9 and 6, and the chores we give them obviously need to match their age and ability. They do things like take out the trash, the recycle, set the table, and unload and load the non breakables into the dishwasher. My 9 year old can put a load of clothes in the washer for me if I need him to (detergent and all), and my 6 year old loves to fold towels and washcloths.
We do pay on occasion pay for work above and beyond. We pay for things like cleaning toilets, mopping, yard work, and things that aren’t normal everyday chores for them. We pay by the difficulty of the job. Cleaning the entire bathroom from toilet to mopping earns $5. This gives them a chance to earn some money for those things they may “need” when we stop at Walmart or Target.
Your kids are capable of helping you around the house. They are actually more than willing to help if you just ask. Keep in mind though, they are kids and things might not look as good as they would when you do it, but it gets better with practice. Helping to keep the home clean gives kids a sense of accomplishment and belonging. Focus on encouraging them along the way. Don’t be tempted to nag them as they help! Watch them, encourage them, thank them and let them know how much you appreciate them. In the end, give them big hugs when they get done and tell them how thankful you are to have them in your life!
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