Parenting is hard work! There are so many aspects to it, everything from discipline to helping our children make good food choices to winning their hearts! We also want to make sure we are teaching our children responsibility. We are living in a culture where more and more grown children are living at home and can't seem to be able to move on with their own lives. God has given us the task of parenting and although we will always be our children’s parents we also want to equip our children for real life living! They are meant to go out and make lives of their own and we want them to be ready for that! Chores can really help us in this area. I hear many moms say, "it is just easier to do it myself" or "it is not worth the complaining I will have to hear”, trust me- I HEAR you!! It is often not easy but we do our children no favors if we continue down this path because in the long run it will hurt them!
Our children can learn basic clean up rules at a very young age. I recently had my one year old nephew over and he was helping me pick up the toys. Actually they usually love doing it at this age so it is the perfect time to start. Setting that precedent early helps you a great deal when they are older.
I write a lot about helping families connect on a deeper level. Working as a family is a wonderful way to do this! You may hear complaints at first but if you make chore time and time you all work as a family consistent they will adjust and great conversations can happen when you are cooking in the kitchen together or cleaning out the garage! Reward yourselves after the big jobs and go out for ice cream together. You are teaching your children the value of hard work and they will feel pride in a job well done!
Here some lists to get you started:
Younger children can:
Put Toys Away
Feed and Water the Pets
Wipe Down Table Tops
Dust (they love to use the feather duster)
Set the Table
Throw Trash Away
Sort Laundry (great lesson on learning colors)
As they get older they can do:
Meal Preparation – They can wash off veggies and fruit/ help you stir (If you are there of course), and get ingredients together.
Make their beds
Collect Garbage (this really helps me on garbage take out days)
Rake Leaves or Sweep Walkway
Pick up their Rooms
Help with Care of Baby (like making bottles and getting diapers)
Help Clean up the Yard
By the time our children our teens we want them to be able to:
Do their laundry
Cook some meals
Mow the lawn
Do basic car maintenance (like checking the oil and tires)
This is helping them be ready to go away to college or for when they get their first apartment or home! They will be grateful they know these tasks and often you will find more mature young people who save money and get good jobs at a younger age because of their knowledge in this area!
Remember when you are teaching your children, it won't be perfect.
But you know what?
It a better thing to be teaching your children about their future and preparing them for life than to have the perfect made bed or swept kitchen! You are raising soon to be adults and they need you to prepare them!
Angela, Together with Family