Children need to learn early on that they are part of the family. We teach them that in a variety of ways. One way that many parents exclude their children is exempting them from chores or any kind of responsibility. When you are making decisions about chores, keep in mind the message you are sending to your children. How you handle these questions will shape them in many ways.
Here are some questions to ask yourself as you try to navigate this.
- For instance, if the children are not doing chores at all, what are you saying to them? You are essentially telling them that life revolves around them. It does not, so don’t set them up for failure in this way.
- Are the chores age appropriate? If they are too simple or too easy you are telling them that they are not capable of more and you are holding them back. If they are beyond them, you are setting them up to fail in a different way. They will not be able to do a good job, or possibly not even be able to complete the job. You are forcing a situation where both the parent and the child loose.
- How do you handle a lackluster job? Remember that parenting is economics. If you ignore the poor job, you are teaching your children that a lackluster effort is acceptable. Likewise, you can easily over penalize the effort and create a situation where they dislike the work entirely.
- How do you handle a job well done or even a good effort? Positive reinforcement is imperative if we are help the children develop an understanding that good work and good effort are valued.
However you answer these questions keep in mind that chores are valuable on a number of levels. They are another way in which we teach the children that they belong, and that they have a purpose. Even when they are very young, they can contribute to their world. Chores also teach the children valuable skills and chores enable them to see beyond themselves. We were not put on this planet to be consumers. We were put here to mimic our Creator. Help them start early creating by helping them do chores.