Teaching kids how to do chores will motivate them to be more helpful and teach them valuable life skills, but you need to set them up for success!
Setting Up Your Kids For Success
We have all heard it said that we should encourage our kids and that they respond better to encouragement than to criticism. Usually, when we think of encouraging, we think of something like saying, “Good job” or “You’re doing really well”. This is one way of setting up your kids for success.
Another way to encourage them and to help them succeed is to arrange things so that their daily tasks or chores are easier.
- If you expect them to hang up their coats each day, you are setting them up for failure if the coat rack is too high or if the coat hooks aren’t large enough or the hangers are hard to use.
- If you expect them to pick up their dirty clothes, then provide them with hampers in their rooms.
If you require your children to make their beds, give them comforters instead of bedspreads, since comforters are easier for them to use.
Use plastic dishes when kids are first learning to hand wash dishes so there isn’t as much worry for them or you about breakage.
Companies that are successful usually have employees that enjoy their work. One way that you can make the work more fun for your kids is by providing mini-aprons for the girls to use while they help mom clean the kitchen. If you don’t have a small apron, then just fold a large cotton dish towel into a triangle and tie it around her waist.
My daughter bought a butcher’s apron for my grandson and decorated it for him to use when he makes pancakes. He loved it and making breakfast for the family is now a treat and not a chore for him.
Another thing you can do to make it easier for both you and your kids is to make lists of chores and hang them in certain areas where the kids can easily refer to them. I’m not talking about the usual chore lists. These are lists explaining how to do the chores.
For example, when you tell your child to go clean his room, “clean” could mean any number of things. Usually, what you consider cleaning the room is not your child’s idea of cleaning it.
In his room, post a list of what specific tasks your child should do when you tell him to clean his room. Kids are very literal thinkers and being specific will make the process smoother (At the same time, avoid including too many details).
Here are some examples of this type of list:
Put dirty clothes in hamper
Pick up all toys off of the floor and put in bins
Forks, Knives, Spoons
Salt and Pepper
Sort into colors; lights, white, colors
Check for stains
Fill washer 3/4 full
Put detergent in washer
(and list the rest of the details in doing the laundry…)
Kids tend to tune mom out after she has told them the same thing over and over. A child will follow a list better than too many verbal instructions, and it saves mom from having to repeat herself. You can make these lists for all kinds of things including steps to clean the kitchen, the bathroom or the family room.
This doesn’t mean that you won’t have to pop in once in a while to help and teach them, but this will save some time. Kids are smarter than we give them credit for sometimes. (Just ask their grandma how smart they are– She’ll tell you!) Even though they’re smart, they still don’t have experience doing these things and you have to train them. This means lots of repetition, so be patient.
Last, but not least, always check their work. This way, they know they will be held accountable.
John Maxwell says, “…what doesn’t get inspected won’t be respected. If there is no accountability in an area, then there’s no incentive to perform with excellence in it. …the root causes of poor performance in a workplace are inadequate training, a lack of capacity and a bad attitude. It is the leader’s responsibility to ensure that they pick the right people for the job, properly equip them for the functions they are required to perform and above all else, model confidence and optimism in their work.”
These same ideas apply at home. And always remember you can get twice as much out of a child with encouragement, a gentle word and a smile than by screaming, criticizing and belittling. I hope this has been of some help to you. If you’d like more tips to help with your kids, check out our “Saving With Kids” E-book series.
photo by: chefranden