Whether you stay-at-home or are a working parent, it is nearly impossible to keep all aspects of family and life moving in the right direction. The picture that comes to mind is that of a juggler trying to keep the balls in the air. The more balls they add to the mix, the harder it is for them to keep track of and anticipate their next move. I think many parents can relate to a juggler.
Personally, the first thing left undone when I have too much on my plate is housework. I tell myself that I will do it after work or put in a little extra time on the weekend, but I never seem to get ahead of the mess. Many of my clients look forward to the day that their children are old enough to help around the house.
I would like to suggest some ideas to consider regarding chores, and give some tips on getting your kids involved when it comes to housework.
Things to Think About
- Are the jobs appropriate for your child’s age, ability, and free time?
- Will they receive incentives for helping around the house?
- How often are the jobs performed? How much of a reward do you provide?
- What lessons do you want them to learn?
- What priority do you assign to chores? Kids are juggling school, sports, and family commitments…
- Will there be consequences for not doing chores or performing poorly?
Chores are a great way for kids to feel helpful around the house and take part as a responsible family member. It also teaches teamwork and allows them to see how they affect the bigger picture. Present the idea of chores early in life, when helping mom and dad is still seen as a positive treat. Proffering rewards for help is up to you. If you are planning on rewarding chores, below are a few ideas other than money.
- Earning playdates with friends
- Special outings for ice cream, movies, shopping, etc.
- Additional free time with an activity of their choice
- Staying up late
- Sleeping in
- Picking special breakfast, lunch, or dinner foods
- One-on-one time with a person of their choosing
- They get to pick the next week’s chores
Expecting kids to pitch in and help around the house is very appropriate. How or if you choose to reward them is up to you. Both systems work well, as long as you keep the rules and expectations consistent and fair. If you are starting a new system and your kids are old enough, invite them to take part in the conversation and give their ideas for handling chores.
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