Parenting is hard work! There are so many aspects to it, everything from discipline to helping our children make good food choices to winning their hearts! We also want to make sure we are teaching our children responsibility. We are living in a culture where more and more grown children are living at home and can’t seem to be able to move on with their own lives. God has given us the task of parenting and although we will always be our children’s parents we also want to equip our children for real life living! They are meant to go out and make lives of their own and we want them to be ready for that!
Chores can really help us in this area. I hear many moms say, “it is just easier to do it myself” or “it is not worth the complaining I will have to hear”, trust me- I HEAR you!! It is often not easy but we do our children no favors if we continue down this path because in the long run it will hurt them!
Our children can learn basic clean up rules at a very young age. I recently had a friend’s one year old son over and he was helping me pick up things, pulling his little legs to do small small chores for, I was very impressed!. Actually they usually love doing it at this age so it is the perfect time to start. Setting that precedent early helps you a great deal when they are older.
I read a lot of things about families doing things to connect on a deeper level. Working and doing chores as a family is a wonderful way to do this! As a mother or even as a parent you may hear complaints at first but if you make chores part of the family activities irrespective of the complaints you will all work as a family. And once the chores are consistent they will adjust and great conversations can happen when you are say cooking in the kitchen together or cleaning out the kitchen! Reward yourselves after the big jobs and go out for a treat. You are teaching your children the value of hard work and they will feel pride in a job well done!
Here are some lists to get you started:
Younger children can:
Put Toys Away
Feed and water the house pets
Wipe Down Table Tops
Dust (get a duster that they will love)
Set the Table
Throw Trash Away
Sort Laundry (great lesson on learning colors)
As they get older they can do:
Meal Preparation – They can wash off veggies and fruit/ help you stir (If you are there of course), and get ingredients together.
Make their beds
Pick up their Rooms
Help with Care of Baby (like making bottles and getting diapers)
Help Clean up the Yard
By the time our children become teens we want them to be able to:
Do their laundry
Cook some meals
Mow the lawn
Do basic car maintenance (like checking the oil and tires)
This is helping them be ready to go away to college, go for youth service or for when they get their first apartment or home! They will be grateful they know these tasks and often you will find more mature young people who save money and get good jobs at a younger age because of their knowledge in this area!
Remember when you are teaching your children, it won’t be perfect.
But you know what?
It absolutely important that we taught our children about their future and prepare them for life than to have the perfect made bed or swept kitchen! We are raising soon to be adults and we need to prepare them!