Friday, February 10, 2012

Children's Capabilities and Our Expectations

It is important for us moms not to have our expactions of our children too low.  Some research done in Arizona reveals what many devoted and loving moms already know - that kids between the ages of 6 and 18 do about 12 percent of household chores, leaving 88 percent to the parents.

Naturally, we don't want our expectations of our children to be too low OR too high.  Having expectations too high can cause children to become frustrated and honestly feel they are not able to meet up to them.  Conversely, we also don't want to set expectations so low that they are easily met and don't present enough of a challenge for children to do their honest best.
When you're working on some chore, ask yourself whether someone else could do it or help with doing it.  If you tend to underestimate your children's capabilities, pay attention to opportunities that will help keep your children challenged at their own level.  And don't forget to praise them.  An encouraging word goes a long way!

One thing remains the same though: I'm always amazed that no matter how many chores I give away to my children, I'm still busy all day long!  There are always enough tasks to fill a catalog.  So  balance is the key.

For someone who leans toward being a "work-aholic" (which is admittedly a minority among moms) it's important that your day is not just work, work, work.  It's important to have periods of rest and fun in between or at minimum, at the end of the day. 

Because, while I do find housework to be generally pleasant, I don't typically break out laughing while I'm vacuuming and scrubbing toilets. :)  However, when all members are busy doing chores, there are plenty of instances for good humor and jocularity. 

Breaking up the housework into manageable chunks and completing tasks throughout the week is the way to a balanced approach. We want to give our children enough work to keep them challenged but not so much to make them discouraged.

I enjoy rewarding my children in the evening with a little tv (a short and wholesome dvd), some dessert, a family game or an outing. That "spoonful of sugar" to keep their hearts encouraged - it goes a long way.

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