Last month I wrote about the “whys” behind implementing chores for your children, in the hope that I might motivate, encourage or simply remind you of the benefits of family responsibility, especially when it all seems like an uphill battle. On the days when no one wants to do their chores, when I seem to be working harder to train them to do their chores than they are at doing them, when I can’t come up with good chores for them to do–that is when I need to be reminded as to why I’m doing this. I thought that might help you too.
There are three more tips I want to offer that will help you persevere and be blessed by family chores:
- Lower Your Expectations. In the beginning, God did amazing things when He went to work, but your children will not. While in chore training, your children will never clean your house like you. At first the toilets will not sparkle, the dishes will not shine, and the floors will look like they did before they were cleaned, but they are learning. Leave them room to learn and grow by lowering your expectations. As time goes by increase the standards of acceptable performance and hold them accountable for it. (If their work is pretty shoddy and you are sure they are doing their very best, you can clean up after them. Just do it when they are not around, so they don’t lose confidence in their ability to work.)
- Live with Mess. Just last week a guest came into my home and while talking to me leaned against my kitchen island and embedded a whole bunch of crumbs in his arm. Embarassing. But as much as I wanted to clean that up right away to save face, it was my daughter’s chore to do. We may need to bite our tongue or tie our hands behind our backs, but do whatever is necessary to keep from taking a chore from your kiddos. Call them back to finish it. Call them home to do it. Endure a little more mess, so your child can embrace his or her responsibilities.
- Allow Differences. Don’t demand that your children do the chore in the same way that you do it. Give them the freedom to use a different method as long as the result is effective. Believe it or not, there are lots of ways to skin a cat, so let them experiment. My children have found some novel uses for Mr. Erasers that I’d never thought of myself. I used to have them complete one chore a day, but they asked me to change the due date so that all their chores are completed by the weekend. And it’s worked, better than my way. They’ve figured out faster, slower, easier and harder ways to get the job done, always consistent with their own personal style. In fact they are more motivated to do their chores when as they say at Burger King, they have it their way.
In order for our children to learn to be responsible, they must have responsibilities, and chores are a great tool for learning and training in this area.
…for each one should carry his own load.
By Dale Wilsher
Mom of four daughters
1 Corinthians 13 Parenting Team Member
real.life.speaker, real.faith.writer, and real.life.coach