Sunday, March 2, 2014

The "Ultimate" Mom: Tackling Chores


Chapter 7: How To Get Your Kids To Do Their Chores Smiling

This has been a difficult subject at our house. My family has a tendency to believe that the only one with any responsibility in this household is Mom. Getting anyone to do chores is more of a chore itself and usually doesn't seem worth the battle, because more often than not, I have to go behind them and re-do what they did (ie. pick up the clothes that got shoved under the bed instead of in the hamper, gather the trash around the house since only the kitchen trash was taken out, re-fold laundry that was carelessly and haphazardly shoved in drawers to the point of overflow.

In this chapter, chores and the process of assigning chores is discussed. I'm not sure I buy that my kids will do it with a smile, but if it helps me to encourage them to do their chores and reduce the arguments then it will be well worth it!

The author explains that children "secretly like chores"...ok, ok, so we all know its not really the chore, they like. But it is the feeling of belonging and accomplishment. The contribution that they put in can make them feel valuable and needed...something that we all crave. And lets face it, it is a great life lesson!! Everyone needs to know how to keep house and take care of business when they eventually live on their own (I know, I don't want to think about that either). It also states that giving them time to learn and not expecting perfection is the key. Remember "will this matter a week from now", perfectly straight corners on the bed or missing a spot while cleaning the table, if they remembered to vacuum behind the recliner, most likely not. Be sure to praise what they did right! "You really did a great job dusting the living room! I really appreciate the help." and leave room for improvement with positive and kind reminders "all that's left now, is wipe down the bottom shelf and it will be all done!" Always keeping in mind that they are still learning to do it just as you do.

A great suggestion made in this chapter was to make chores fun and utilize it as a time to connect to one another!! I know for me, when I have to clean house, I always pick up the phone and put in my bluetooth. Its a great time for me to catch up with old friends and it distracts me from the "I just don't feel like doing this" battle that I face when tackling my house. I'll pick up the phone and call my Mom and the next thing I know, the kitchen is clean and half the living room. I think I actually begin doing it subconsciously. And when I cant get a hold of anyone (and no one else is home!) I will turn on the radio really loud and dance around the house as I clean....it takes a little longer, but its fun (and great exercise I might add...hey two birds as they say). So why not use that same logic I already utilize for myself and do it with my kids!?! I know making chore time more fun definitely helps me get through the nitty-gritty.

Another thing it suggested was how to get them to actually do their chores...I now my constantly harping and hounding only makes me mad and them more difficult. Here it suggests getting them to come to an "agreement" with you ahead of time. The example used was no bedtime stories until dinner dishes were cleared. When the child refused, a simple reminder of "what was our agreement?" over and over with a one time reminder of "we agreed no stories until the dishes are cleared". When the child refused, the response was "I'm sad too that we don't get to have story time tonight. Maybe tomorrow you will clear the dishes quickly so we can have more time to read together".

Chapter Tips:

  1. Surprise - Children secretly like chores!
  2. You can help your children enjoy doing chores by "dancing your way to spotless",  making chores a fun game, or using it as a time to connect.
  3. If your children forget to do their chores, remind them once and then zip it.
Taking Action:
  • Have your children choose a daily chore and brainstorm ways in which you can make that chore "over-the-top" fun!
  • Notice anything your child does that helps you out during the week and then thank them for it.
  • Ask your child to help out: "Would you help me carry this?", "Would you do me a favor and bring this to my room?" Make certain your requests are polite and that you thank them for their help.

I think this process is worth a try. I know arguing with my 6 year old gets me nowhere, so not arguing might just do the trick. Here's hoping!

Do your kids have chores? What kinds of chores do they do daily/weekly/seasonally? How do you motivate them? Have you faced any challenges? Please share with us in the comments below.


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