I warned you in the beginning of this series on chores: all kids are different and you will have to do some finagling to find the right system for your child. And that right system may change in a year. Still, it’s important to remember to stick to it. Remember when your baby was really a baby? Chances are they didn’t like one of these things: car seats, diaper changes, going to the pediatrician, nap time. But, you pushed through and these things became part of the routine. That will happen with new chores! It doesn’t take long. You can do it! Remember your motivation.
Most kids can do a lot more than we think they can.
Here are some valuable tips I’ve picked up over the years from other parents, books, and my own experience.
- For younger children, give them their reward at the time of service. Kids over 7 can start to understand the concept of waiting for a weekly allowance or reward.
- Avoid overwhelm by setting a timer or giving a STOP time for each task.
- It’s a valuable thing to learn to discern what you like and excel at. Trying all sorts of chores will help your child figure this out.
- Thank your child for helping the family. Develop their pride in a job well done.
- Lead by example: Do housework while kids are around. Talk about how you feel about your duties.
- Delegate your weaknesses to reduce the temptation to do it yourself.
- Give them the instruction and the tools to succeed. Don’t jump on their back for messing up the first few times they try a new skill or for forgetting how to do the job completely. Think about your workplace. What if someone went behind you micro-managing your efforts? AHH!
- Think about the chores you did when you were a kid. How do you feel about them in retrospect?
- Every single family who decides to institute chores for kids, screws it up! If it were easy, there wouldn’t be so many blog posts about it and you wouldn’t be reading them!
Give yourself a break. Yes, keep the conversation open. Talk to your kids about how we slacked off but we’re getting back to it. And above all, keep your big boy/girl pants on and be the parent!
It’s our job to create adults–not large children.
All of these life skills are to prepare your sweet babies to go out into the cruel world. You aren’t being a meanie. You are being realistic! As they get older, it gets easier to imagine how they will react to life situations. Let these realizations inspire you to crack that whip (with love in your heart). <3
A side note about allowance:
Chores and allowance are two distinct and separate things. You can have one without the other. All I will say about allowance is, if you give your child money, you must teach them how to manage it.
(These pictures are of my adorable niece who is totally into putting things where they go.)