Part of preparing our children for life should include getting them involved in helping with jobs in the home and providing chore training. We should teach them how to work, and how to do it well. We do our kids and their future mate a great disservice, if we fail to teach them to help and work responsibly.
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Why don’t we do it then? Often, it’s just SO much easier to do the job ourselves, rather than take the time to teach, train, help, and encourage the child to do it.
The truth is that when kids are young they love to help. If you can train them when they are so willing, the short-term time and work it involves will result in long-term benefits! You will eventually have young adults who are mature and responsible. Isn’t that one of your parenting goals?
Here are 7 tips for Chore Training:
1. Be CLEAR.
When you teach a child a job for the first time, make sure that you go through the steps that are involved, and make your expectations clear.
For example, I want you to sweep the kitchen floor thoroughly. Be sure you move the chairs, and sweep under them and the table. Move the trash can and sweep under it. Be sure you get to all the corners, etc.
Show them how to use the dust pan to pick up the dirt when they are done. Don’t just assume that they will know how to do the job.
2. Provide a checklist.
On a 3 x 5 card write down the expectations for the job. Break it down into steps to make it easier for them to work efficiently. They can refer to that to be sure they remember everything they are supposed to do in an area.
3. Inspect their work.
Let them know they are to come you after finishing a job, so you can inspect it. As the old saying goes, children will do what you inspect, not what you expect!
Keep in mind that as the kids get older, they should be growing in maturity and responsibility. You shouldn’t have to check their work every time, like when they were younger and still being trained.
4. Have time frames for when work is to be done.
My kids knew what had to be done each day, and that they couldn’t go play, or have their free time till those jobs were done, and I had given my approval.
5. Give the job to the youngest child that is capable of doing it.
Young kids start with easy jobs, but should then gradually progress to more difficult ones, until they are able to do all the jobs that Mom or Dad do around the home.
6. Don’t feel guilty for delegating most of the cleaning and housework to the kids.
When my kids were younger, there was a long period of time when I didn’t do laundry, vacuum or sweep floors, wash dishes, or clean bathrooms. (Keep in mind I had 8 kids to help share the load.) That’s not because I was being lazy, but because I was intentionally training my kids to work, and that in a family we share the responsibilities. The fact that I didn’t have to do all those things, left me more time to teach the younger ones, and more time for all of us to do fun things together.
You are preparing them for life when you teach them how to keep a house clean, do laundry, and prepare meals. You are also helping them develop character.
It’s good to work along with them at times, because that’s a chance to spend time with them. It also is more enjoyable to work with someone. However, they should be responsible for taking care of what has been delegated to them.
7. Be sure to express gratitude for their help, and praise for a job well done.
Everyone wants to be appreciated for the work that they do, and our kids needs to know that we appreciate their help. Even though they are required to do certain chores, be sure and comment on how good the room looks, or how you love having a clean sink, etc.
Praise for a job well done motivates, and gives more of a desire to please. So be generous with your gratitude and praise!
Prepare your kids for life — give them the benefit of learning how to help, work hard, and to do a job well!