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Do you ever feel like you are constantly running around like a chicken with its head cut off? There are so many things on your to-do list, kids to take care, a house that needs cleaning, it’s your turn to bring snacks to the soccer game, errands to run, and so on. It seems like your list keeps getting longer by the minute and you don’t know where to start.
Do you find yourself sounding like a broken record telling the kids to clean their rooms, pick up their dirty clothes, shoes don’t belong in the hallway? Do you wish they would just pick up their own crap and clean their rooms without being asked? Yeah right, is what you are thinking. Is it easier just to do it yourself?
Sometimes it is easier to just do it yourself. I am guilty of just doing it myself so I don’t have to constantly fuss about the mess, but I am done. I am done being the maid they think I am. I am done cleaning rooms, picking up dirty socks and underwear, making sure they come home and do nothing but their homework and sit around and do what they want. What about what I want or what I need? Doesn’t that count for something?
I tried assigning chores thought it would be fun for them to learn responsibility by earning a few dollars a week just by cleaning their rooms, taking out the trash, tending to the animals, setting and clearing the dinner table. It turned out they wanted the money but not the responsibility of completing the chores that were assigned. That is when I needed to rethink how I was raising my kids and did I want them to depend on me to do these everyday things that they are fully capable of doing.
Yes, I want them to depend on me forever because I am their mom, but I do not want them to depend on me to clean their rooms and pick up after them forever. It’s time that I start letting them know I am not their maid and why I am not.
Between the age of 2 and 3, some of us begin teaching our children to clean up behind themselves. We teach them to pick up the toys when they are done playing with them or when they are done playing all together you may show them how to pick up all of their stuff so they will know where it is when they want to play later. Some parents even make it fun pointing to the toys or items they want the kids to pick up and put somewhere else.
If you continue teaching them at different ages what they can do for themselves you are helping them in the long run.
When your child is able to reach the sink in the kitchen, assign dishes. If you cook them dinner you should have help cleaning the kitchen. After all, you did prepare/cook dinner. Yes! That is what you do as a parent is to make sure they are feed, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have a little help in the kitchen.
If your child can wash dishes, take out the trash, clean their room, dust, mop, run a vacuum, then they can clean bathrooms and help with laundry. Give them a double laundry basket and teach them to separate the lights from the darks. Teach them to use the washer and dryer. Teach them to fold and put away their clothes neatly. You may have to supervise sometimes to be sure it’s being done correctly but it’s best to look behind them and guide them rather than doing it all yourself.
When kids are little or before they become teenagers some show an interest in wanting to help in the kitchen. It could be baking cookies, making toast, baking a dish, using the microwave, toaster, coffee maker, etc. This is the time to let them in, hands on and ask questions because they are interested. It’s also an important skill to teach before they move out.
There is so much a parent has to teach before we can let them into the real world. Kids need to know how to clean a house, cook, and wash clothes, manage money, pay bills and how to take care of their own things. Start early teaching them instead of trying to force them to do it when they get older.
I am not saying turn your child into your maid, I am saying they need to help around the house because there may be times when you can’t or you need the extra hand.
Get them off the video games, cell phones, bring them from outside playing and get them to help, for instance, pick up the shoes they left on the floor, the backpack that is sitting on the couch, dirty clothes by their beds, towels on the floor in the bathroom, empty glass on the counter. All these things can be done in less than ten minutes.
Don’t feel guilty when you ask them to do something again. The only way they will learn is by doing it over until they get it right.
By teaching our children we are not their maids but we’re their parents is letting them know they are an active part of the family and we are teaching them how to survive in our big world.
How do you teach your children to help around the house?