Many parents ask the question should allowance be attached to chores? The response is what are we training them for? The purpose of training up a child is to ready them for adulthood. There are many jobs that we as adults have to do around the house. I don’t remember ever receiving a paycheck for doing dishes, laundry or taking out the trash. One of the purposes of chores is to teach children that there are things that we do simply to be a contributing member of a family. There may be extra jobs that are not considered regular chores, such as cleaning out the refrigerator or cleaning windows, that could be done to earn some extra cash. This teaches a child to go above and beyond what is simply required of them. These extra jobs can also be used as consequences, without pay, for chores not done.
Many parents then ask how do I get my child to do household chores? We discussed yesterday setting up a reward/consequence plan for chores. We as adults do have a reward for household chores-a clean and relaxing living space. Think of some rewards,not monetary, that will motivate your child as well as consequences for chores not done.
Listen to today’s podcast for more insight on chores.
Chores Teach A Child To Choose
We discussed yesterday that chores train a child to do what is responsible rather then what is pleasurable. The question is where is a parent to start? The concept of chores is something that can start as early as preschool with simple tasks. In our house, we are working with our three-year-old son teaching him how to clean up after himself. He picks up one set of toys before bringing out another. Of course it would be MUCH faster, and I probably wouldn’t have to sing the clean up song, if I just ran around after him straightening. If I consistently did the work for him, however, then he wouldn’t be ready for the next step, cleaning his room on his own.
For any child utilizing the ICE plan is key for chores. Instruct them what your expectation is. Tell them ahead of time what the consequence is for not completing the chore and what the reward is for completing the chore to your expectation. Finally and sometimes most difficultly we have to step back and let them exercise their choice. Are they going to choose a reward or consequence?
In the residential homes at Sheridan house the teens have chores every morning. The room that does the best in their chores gets ice cream at the end of the week. Many kids are reward driven so attaching rewards early on for a job well done will easily teach that it’s worth it to work hard.
For more on chores listen to today’s podcast.
Why It’s So Important
Why is it so important to fight the chores battle as parents? There are four main reasons. First there is nothing that teaches a child personal responsibility as well as chores. It teaches a child to make the choice between what they want to do and what they need to do. This learned responsibility translates into many adult situations from credit cards to sexuality.
Chores can communicate that a child is needed. Every part of the family pitches in to help out.
It can also help to teach a child how to take initiative as well as learning the importance of excellence. If I do something right the first time I won’t have to go back and fix it.
Lastly it prepares a child for emancipation from the home. We have laughed about how many college freshman have no idea how to do laundry. But simply teaching a child how to do chores helps them to learn basic household management skills.
For more on why chores are such an important area to train your child in, listen to today’s podcast.
Why Don’t We Give Our Kids Chores Anymore?
This week will be spent talking about the importance of children doing household chores. The interesting thing is that it seems overall families don’t prioritize their children doing chores. Why is this?
There are many reasons for this but it seems that the main reason is time. We are all very busy from adults to children in the home, our schedules are jam-packed. The priority of chores has fallen by the wayside. It also takes a lot of time put in by the parent. It takes time to train your child how to do the chore. It takes time to inspect the chores and make sure that they are done to your standard. It also takes time to correct mistakes, as well as time to cheer when the chore is done right. This is why many parents shy away from the job of training their children to do chores. “It just seems faster and easier to do it myself. “
Chores are an important part of training a child however. There are many lessons that can be learned from them. Check back the rest of this week to see why they are invaluable!
Listen to today’s podcast for more on chores.
Questions About Imperfect Homes
One thing that can be unsettling for children is when their parents disagree, because if this it may raise questions. First our children need to know that mommy and daddy aren’t perfect and two imperfect people living under the same roof may not always agree. As always we need to be aware that children observe everything and make sure that if we disagree in front of the kids we are appropriate to each other
This maybe a great discussion to teach your children about marriage that even though two people love each other they don’t always agree. It can also be a great thing to use to teach your children about God. Even though mommy and daddy aren’t perfect and make mistakes, their Heaven Father is perfect.
The hard questions about home issues can be used to start discussions with your children. However, if the issues are more severe never put your children in the middle of the arguments or cause them to half to choose sides between mom and dad. This is very distressing for them.
For more on this topic check out our previous series titled, When Parents Don’t Agree, by clicking here.
And as always check out today’s podcast as well for more insight.
Questions About The Gray Areas Of Life
There are some areas in life that aren’t completely black and white and different people have different convictions about them. These may be decisions that you want to help coach your kids through. This means that your answers aren’t as important as the discussions they create. Helping your children their own convictions about these gray areas will help them stick with them as they get older. It is their own decision rather then a rule imposed on them.
There are also some gray areas that society has set up boundaries around already. Take movies for instance, some people make the personal choice not to see rated R or even PG-13 movies because of their content. The nice thing is society has already set up that these are appropriate only for ages over 18 or 13. So this is an easy gray area to help your child set up their adult convictions for. So it is easy to have a dialog about this type of gray area. When your child asks about movies, you can reply what your personal conviction is but open a dialog about it. For example something like “mom and dad have chosen not to watch movies that are R because of the nudity or language,” or “mom and dad are very selective about the PG 13/R movies we watch because we don’t want to put the sexuality or language into our heads.” That can open a dialog to discuss this issue.
The importance is the discussion not the answer because with gray areas every family may have made a different choice. This means that your child will observe other families maybe making different choices then yours, which is why you want to be available for questions.
Listen to today’s podcast for more on this topic.
Peer Interaction Questions
Another topic that may be difficult for today’s parent to discuss is peers. Our reactions to peer discussions can go one of two ways. Either we can be tempted to blow off issues as not a big deal or blow up issues and make them a bigger deal. Neither one of these reactions will encourage our children to come back to us with peer issues.
Something that we need to keep in mind in talking with our kids about peers is their experience may be very different from ours. Bullying has been taken to a completely new level then what most of us have observed. (For more on bullying check out our previous series by clicking here.) And with the introduction of the internet, our homes are not completely a sanctuary because of cyber-bullying. (for more on this topic check out the cyber-bullying series by clicking here.)
We also must remember that while something may not seem like a big deal to us as parents, we are removed from the situation. To a preteen/teen peer relations are their world, therefore it is a bigger deal to them. Because we are removed we can offer valuable advice and insight but we must be careful not to downplay our child’s emotion about a situation. Doing this is another way to alienate your child and make them decide not to come back to us in the future because they feel mom/dad “doesn’t understand.”
Listen to today’s topic for more insight on peer interaction questions
Like we discussed yesterday and many times previously we want to be the ones that our children come to with their questions. It is our job as parents to “train them up in the way they should go” this means that we cannot leave the difficult topics and questions for some one else to answer.
Because of the world around them it is amazing the questions our children come up with and at younger ages today. Especially when it has to do with sexuality. We must be prepared for these questions and control our emotions when they are asked. We cannot give the answer, even though we may think it, wait until your older. When we leave these important questions unanswered we leave them vulnerable to whoever will answer and usually that means peers. If a difficult question throws you off instead of reacting shocked, its ok to say “because this is a really important topic why don’t you let me think about it and we’ll talk before you go to bed.” That way you have time to process how to answer and to think through if there are any deeper questions underlying.
For more insight on the topic of teaching your kids about sexuality check out our previous series on Putting Sexual Purity Into Your Parenting Curriculum as well as today’s podcast.