Sunday, August 21, 2011

How to Get Your Children to Help Around the House

Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it. Proverbs 22:6

When you have little children, it is easy to become overwhelmed and frustrated at trying to be supermom. You need help. And that help comes from your family. As a mother, it's your job to get your children to help with the housework cheerfully.
They will benefit by one day becoming independent, responsible adults who are pleased with their accomplishments. So make housework fun, give clearly defined directions, keep the jobs realistic, and avoid criticism. Above all shower them with genuine praise. Children thrive on praise and encouragement.

I've tried different systems over the years, and while we've had a measure of success with each, by far, the one that has never failed me is our Daily Work Planner Chart. It is simple to make on microsoft word and can be adjusted as necessary. The chart itself remains the same, but I will add or subtract a job here or there depending on what season it is and our changing needs. I think it's the most effective method because it's the simplest.

I keep ours on the refrigerator and when the chore is done, it's checked off. At the end of day, they are supposed to call me call to sign it (of their own initiative.)   Then I check their work to see if they did it correctly and if so, they get a shiny star. Even my 15 year old sparkles with accomplishment when he sees that star on his chart. A day's work well done feels good. Check out a sampling of other mom's chore charts for their families for some inspiration here.

How to Motivate Them to Show Initiative

This one took time. I did not want to keep telling my kids to get their work done and have me come to check it. I wanted to instill in them the drive to show initiative. So I put a code on each day's work. I wrote the codes down on to squares of paper and put them in a jar. At the end of the week, we have a drawing for each child's set of codes. If all their codes are initialed by me or their dad, they have a 100% chance for recieving their reward. If a code is drawn that was not initialed (which meant they did not tell me to sign it even if the work was done) they have lowered their chances at recieving their reward. It works well. 

Now, in our home, our boys are up for this challenge.  This won't be the case in every home.  Each mother knows her own children and what they can handle.  So use your best judgment and tweak the system to fit your own needs. 

But children are capable of much more than we tend to give them credit for.  Challenges keep them hopping and keep them on their toes. 

If you think that systems don't work for you, remember that you are an example to your children. Don't give up.  Keep at it until you find one that works.  Our children depend upon us to train them up in the way they should go.  Sometimes it's a battle, but stay cheerfully in control. Remember YOU are the mom. :)  And kites rise highest against the wind, not with it. 

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