It wasn’t so long ago that children were effective, if not, essential household contributors. They toiled in fields, cooked and cleared the table and were even competent caretakers for their younger siblings. All of this—and for no pay.
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But, the ease and convenience of our modern times threatens to make lazy, uninspired workers out of our kids.
The American Academy of Pediatrics urges that “children need to have some obligations and duties within the family, or they will not learn to accept responsibility. In unstructured home environments, or in families that are very permissive and where little is expected of children, youngsters are losing out on some valuable learning experiences …”
So, are you ready to get your kids on board?
Read on for some quick and easy steps to assigning household chores to your children that are manageable and will help build their sense of duty and self-esteem.
- Discuss why chores are necessary. Call a family meeting to order and talk together about why some chores are more vital than others and yet how they are all equally important. What is likely to happen if certain jobs are not done?
- Decide as a family what chores are available for the kids to do. Determine the value of each job and when and how it should be completed. Does everyone feel the list is fair and manageable?
- Divvy up the jobs after it’s been decided who will be responsible for each task. How will the job best be accomplished? It may be that some of the jobs will require teamwork and that’s okay. Post a list of the jobs in plain view where everyone will have access to it.
- Demonstrate how you’d like the chores to be completed. This is perhaps the most important aspect of the process. It’s not fair to expect that your child will just simply “know” how to complete a task by having watched you. Chances are they haven’t been paying attention.
- Determine and agree upon what makes a job well-done. Is the bedroom floor clear of books, clothes and socks? Are the dishes stacked? Has the dog been fed in the morning and at night?
- Deadlines are important. Agree to a reasonable and attainable timetable and then enforce it consistently with rewards and a good many pats on the back!
Follow these simple steps and you’ll be sure to raise responsible children who will value such things as pride, teamwork and a clean house.
Kerri S. Mabee is managing editor of Southwest Riverside News Network. She can be reached at email@example.com.