As a homeschooling mom, I learned early on the importance of including my children in helping with the household chores.
Each morning our home began with breakfast, and then each child would be given jobs to do. They kept the same chores for a month. Then I would change them around. After chores, we would have Bible time and start school. This routine worked with all 8 children. During school I wasn’t staring at a grimy floor or stacks of dirty dishes. The room was relatively clean and in good order.
The same system happened after lunch — after eating, each one did a job. No one complained. That is just the way it was and they were happy kids.
Sadly these days, children are often put in front of a TV or iPad to keep them entertained while the parent cleans up. That really teaches bad habits, and the kids most likely will not want to pitch in as they grow into their teen years.
Even at toddler age, kids are able to learn how to help pick up a toy or two and put them in their place. Children love to be a part of it all. I taught age-appropriate tasks as my children grew.
- At age 2 they handed me the clothes to hang up on the clothesline. They also learned to rinse dishes. (What child doesn’t like to play in water.)
- At age 3-4 they started making their bed. It might not have looked perfect but they were proud of it especially after I told them what a great job they did!
- At age 5-6 they were washing dishes and sweeping.
- By age 7 and up, the children started helping prepare and serve the meals.
Now you have worked yourself out of several jobs. I was even able to sip a cup a tea as they cleaned up after lunch and I prepared for the afternoon session.
With each new accomplishment, the child grows in confidence. It is good for children to learn to help. They feel a part of things. Good work ethics start early, and they will turn out to be responsible workers when they grow up.
Household chores also prepare the child to keep a somewhat orderly home when they start their own families, and they in turn can pass this on to their children. That’s the way it was for me when I was growing up, and I am grateful for it.
So include your children in the daily household chores. Yes, it does take an initial investment of time, effort, and supervision but eventually you and your children will reap the benefits.
Work is part of life. You are not being mean when you teach your children to contribute. You are preparing them for life and doing them a favor.
God bless you!
Mary Ann/Mother Hen