With eight children in our family, there’s always work for me to do.
Many people ask me, “How do you get everything done?!”
Often people tend to view children as work, and yes, they do create more work. There are more clothes to wash, more spills to clean up, etc. However, there are also more people to help do the work!
Many moms carry the load of all the housework and never involve their children. Some feel it’s easier and faster to do it themselves. Maybe so at first, but the time you save in the long run by teaching them to help, will be well worth it!
Others ask, “How do you get your kids to help? Mine won’t do anything!”
The answer to that question is easy: I tell them to do it. They are not given an option. They all have jobs they are responsible for regularly, and they know they must be done before play time.
Other parents ask: “Shouldn’t our kids get to play and just be kids?”
That may sound good, but in reality, you do your children a great disservice when you fail to teach them to work, do jobs, and be responsible.
Why teach and require your kids to help?
1. They need to learn to work.
My husband is from a family of fourteen children, and their dad made them help in the garden and yard. To this day, my husband is glad his dad made him do his best and not just rush through jobs. Because of that, he is a hard conscientious worker, and a good employee.
2. It will teach them to be responsible and help them grow in character.
3. They will learn team work and feel a sense of fulfillment as they help meet the needs in your home. Kids need to feel needed, and what parent doesn’t need help with all the work?
4. They need to be prepared for the future.
Some day your children will have their own homes. They need to be prepared to care for their home, feed their family, keep their clothes clean, etc
Perhaps you agree that kids should help, but don’t quite know how to get them started, or what they can handle. HOW do you teach them to help?
We use job charts at our house. I made a list of all the jobs my kids could help with. Then we talked about it, and I let them each choose a job until they were all taken. (Some had to be given due to the oldest due to difficulty.) After they chose the jobs, I made a chart for each of them. Each day they had to do their jobs before they were allowed to play.
Two things are important to keep in mind about using the job charts.
First, you need to show them how to do the job. They aren’t going to do too great if they don’t know your expectations, or the best way to do it. (Kids are great at making things hard!) If necessary, make a card listing the steps involved. The first few times it is better if you do it with them, explaining as you go.
Second, be sure you check on their work.
When I fail to “inspect”, they get careless and lazy. Don’t EXPECT anything if you don’t INSPECT! Besides checking their work, look at their charts and reward for faithfulness in completing ALL their jobs each week.
By the way, don’t underestimate their abilities.
Kids can do more than just put toys away and make their beds! Just to give you an example, here are just a few of the jobs that my little helpers have worked me out of: laundry (including folding clothes and putting them away), dishes, vacuuming, and dusting.
Just those few jobs alone free a lot of time for me to spend caring for the baby, playing with the preschoolers, etc.
Why not give your kids the chance to help you, and also gain some valuable skills for their future? You will both be better off as a result! So let’s get busy and enlist our little helpers!