Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Simple Suggestion #104 ... Give the kids chores

Here's one that seems to have fallen out of vogue because of the busy and often over-programmed lives that a lot of kids lead: assign them household chores on a regular basis. Ah, but they don't have time? Well, something is definitely wrong with that picture.

Children need to take responsibility for their environment every bit as much as adults do. By helping to keep the house clean and by participating in the maintenance work that goes into daily life, they learn that life is what they make of it. I get the sense that many parents these days run themselves ragged taking their kids to extracurricular activities, working, and keeping house... and what those parents forget is that kids need the opportunity to do for themselves, and for others.
As a stay-home-mom for most of my girls' lives, I was in danger of over-functioning when it came to cooking, cleaning, laundry, and other household chores. After all, I could accomplish those things in half the time and with half the tomfoolery! I gave each of my girls their own set of household duties on weekends, mostly to do with vacuuming, and they helped with supper clean up most nights. But when I started working part-time, the girls suddenly had to start picking up the slack in all categories. Sometimes I had to ask them to do specific things, and some they just did on their own. Sometimes I would leave lists of suggested chores on the kitchen table during summer holidays, and they would have them finished by lunchtime. Invariably, I noticed that on days when I set them a few tasks to be completed, they were in much better moods when I got home than if they had lazed the day away at their own pursuits.

It boils down to this: all human beings need a sense of accomplishment. Giving our kids chores helps them to accomplish basic things and learn basic skills that they'll need later in life. And I suspect, in many cases, that's more important than any extracurricular activity they would choose for themselves.

P.S. Looking for more Simple Suggestions? Try here.

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