Kids across Michigan have been making their way into summer vacation. For some this means spending time at camps, daycares, with grandma, or sitting at home… Whatever it means for your kids schedule – make sure it means that there’s a transition to the new routine and that includes time for fun, but also time for learning and doing chores. And let me start by stating that chores should not be a punishment. Learning to do chores helps children mature and orients them to the common good of caring for their property. Parents say that teaching kids to do the job takes more time than it does for them to simply do it themselves, and although this is true for that moment, it will save the family time in the long run. Time that can be used for family fun!
In the past we learned that sending kids into hard labor jobs was a bad idea – but nothing is wrong with teaching kids responsibility for their own belongings. Yet – NONE of the children recently surveyed perform chores routinely without being asked. In most homes mom’s admit that they pick up activities behind their busy kids. So the question is – how do we not only get kids to help out, but how do we teach them to do so on their own? The first step is simply adding it to your family’s schedule and assigning chores.
Why do I think chores are so important for even the littlest of kids? Because it not only teaches them responsibility for their things, but it also teaches them life skills and project management. Also, children who pitch in around the house become better team-players, co-workers, and eventually spouses / parents themselves. Believe it or not – kids actually learn to love helping out and become more careful of their belongings when they know it’s their job to care for toys and such… Doing chores themselves fosters independence and boosts their self-esteem. Research tells us that your kid actually wants to learn new skills and feel as if they are contributing the family. You might be surprised at the suggestions kids offer that improve the upkeep of your home!
Now, in that past paragraph you may have read that “kids actually learn to love helping out…” – in other words don’t expect instant love for your chore-list… Sometimes kids are excited to jump in and help, but then the novelty of the fun fades… Some kids start off hesitant to help out, so I suggest a chore chart. Some people argue that you shouldn’t use chore charts or rewards for work – but I say everyone deserves a reward for hard work. You get paid when you have a job, right? Yes, it’s the importance of learning to simply contribute to the household needs, but it’s also a way to teach work ethic. You don’t need to pay your kids with money – maybe they can work up to earn a desired item, or maybe everyone’s work is paid off with a summer vacation at the end of the month, or maybe if they help cook food and clean dishes – they can help plan the menu.
Be creative – but give incentives to work hard and use fun ideas to keep the home organized. Here are some housekeeping ideas and organizational plans to help give your family ideas. Chore time can be planned for “bored time” or to begin “family time.” Dance around while cleaning then when the jobs done – play a game together. However you schedule in your chores – remind them that it’s not a punishment and that you are thankful for your kids help around the house.