" Mom!! You always make me do chores. Chores are so hard. Why do we have to do them? ", my son lamented as I rolled my eyes. Another time, he tried, " Other kids get money for doing their chores. How much money will I get for doing my chores? Can I get a treat after I clean up? "
We see it on TV and among our friends. The parents say, " Do your chores" . The kids whine or expect an allowance in return for doing some menial tasks around the house. No matter what, most of the time there is unpleasantness or arguments or nagging to just get them moving!
I realized that the world Chore has become one that is being seen as negatively these days. I often see adults also lamenting about doing chores. There seems to be an inherent loss in taking pleasure in doing simple things that feed the soul
To that end, we stopped using the world, " Chores".
Instead, now I say, " Please help me out by ... " or " Please, do ... " and reminding him time and again to do the same with patience and perseverance . By doing this I have taught my son to realize -
He Is Not Doing Chores but Helping
Moms and dads are human and need help too. Doing laundry, loading the dish washer, making your bed, de- cluttering or organizing is Not a favor being done for the parents. We are a family and everyone should pitch in. One contributes depending on the need of the hour. Sometimes, I need help to get the living room clutter free before guests come urgently. Other times, I'm sick and need something done that they don't usually do.
There are no Set Jobs
We all have interchangeable jobs. My son says, " But she (his little sister) made a mess! " I will respond with, " I clean up when you are tired. So there is no harm in helping clean up your sister's mess. " Other times the little one is asked to do her brother's 'job' of putting shoes away or filling a glass of water for someone.
We Need to Be Self Motivated
It is their home. They need to feel proud of the house in which they live, grow and have friends over. No job is small or big. Every single thing you do towards grooming, cleaning or helping out carries value in itself. There is much to be said about a home that is welcoming. Appreciation should come from within for what you do.
Nagging is Not The Same as Reminding
No child in the world is going to help out by themselves. Kids need to be reminded that when they are told to do something over and over, it is because they haven't done it. Not because they are being nagged.
Doing It Right The First Time is An Art
If my kids are grumpy about helping out around the house or they do a job badly just for the sake of it, they not only have to redo it, they have to do something else too. This is one really important aspect that has helped me a lot. This gives them an incentive to do it right the first time!
Helping Need Not Be but Can Be Fun
Let's face it! These ' how do I get chores to be fun?' or " paying kids for chores" is unhealthy. You are not going to find treats or stickers when cleaning up as a adult. There will be no point system or compensation for what you do for your home or at your work. Life is hard. Kids need to know that doing your job need not be, but can be made fun by themselves.
- Finding two pairs of socks or jumping in a just washed pile of laundry is fun.
- Talking to each other when emptying and loading the dishwasher is fruitful.
- Helping your mom out by running as fast as you can to get the diaper for the baby can be fun.
Finding the silver lining in the mundane is a beautiful characteristic to develop.
Consistency is Key To Life Skills
All things that need doing are not life altering but they carry within them the key to basic life skills. By contributing towards work around the home kids learn that consistency is key to organizing. If you want something to be done right or neatly, you have to do it every day, week or month. That dedication is a core life quality.
The simple change helped my son see the task at hand in a new light. In order to grow up into individuals providing value to society they need to know that not every task is going to be compensated for. It is still valuable and needs doing. It builds character, empathy and many more life skills.