I KNOW IT feels like you are doing your kids a favor by not making them do chores. You’re the nice parent, right? I learned the hard way, with the first boy, that kids do need to help around the house. I thought I was the coolest mom because he barely had to help. Unfortunately, it made him think he was above mere menial work. Trust me, it was a long hard battle back from that princely place BUT we have made that journey.
Scrub a dub dub, kiddos...
My mistake with my oldest made it blatantly clear to my husband and me that the next two boys had to be worked from the beginning. And they have been. They are now helpful, willing to pitch in and so pleasant to be around. Thinking about them and the reasons why chores are important made me want to share with you all our reasonings for teaching them how to pitch in.
1. To Be Needed. Everyone, no matter who they are, needs to be needed. I began to notice in my oldest son that he drifted around being mildly annoying and causing trouble when we were working. He wanted to help, but didn’t even understand that, neither did I. I wish, oh how I wish, I had figured it out earlier.
I NEED you to sweep up those toast crumbs!
2. To Help Each Other. We need help. We all do, each and everyone of us. When we can learn to say “I need help” we can finally admit we can’t do everything on our own. Letting others help us, even our kids help us, makes for lighter work. Yes, I know sometimes working with kids is like 3 steps forward and 87 back, but calm perseverance will eventually pay off. Learning to breathe deeply and count to ten is important for parents, letting kids help you will give you lots of practice. WIN/WIN!
3. To Be Useful Adults. I want my boys to set forth into the world educated in the ways of scrubbing toilets, sorting laundry, dusting, vacuuming and properly making beds. Their chore charts reflect as much. They will be great catches, like my husband, for any wonderful woman they choose to love. As they grow older they will begin lessons in cooking, too, so they can cook for themselves and for anyone else they happen to need to feed. They are also learning to care for our animals, cats, mastiff and a happy flock of hens. All of these skills will round them out and make them wonderful men in the future.
Future awesome boyfriend...
4. To Stay Busy. Kids need to be busy. If you’ve ever seen a bored kid you know the trouble they can cause. Ugh, it is not pretty. If they have a nice amount of chores to occupy them the less time they will have to cause that trouble. I am certainly NOT advocating keeping them working so they get no free time or time to just be. I AM saying that a nice block of 30 minutes of work will cause them to intensely enjoy the time when they are not doing chores.
Seriously, what kid doesn't love a feather duster?
It’s a balancing act: keeping them busy enough to be happy yet free enough to be kids.