Most of us don’t have the privilege of living on a farm anymore, so we don’t have built in chores to help us teach children responsibility.
Chores can either be a nightmare or incredibly instructional. It all depends on deciding that getting the training being done is more significant than getting the task done.
Give each child a regular ongoing daily chore, such as making their bed, and picking everything up off their floor. Also give them a weekly chore such as taking the garbage to the curb on garbage day.
Decide ahead of time what the consequence will be for not doing the chore. Then tell the child that he is now responsible to take the garbage on garbage day before 7:00 a.m. If it’s not out by 7:00 a.m. you will take it out, but he will receive the consequence.
No reminder. No nagging. If you tell them four times to take the garbage out it’s really your responsibility not theirs. You’re just using their body to get it done. You are trying to get your child to be responsible enough to choose to remember to take the garbage out on his own.
“But Mom, what if I forget to get up early enough to take the garbage out?” That’s part of learning responsibility and what the consequence is for. Avoiding the consequence is the motivator to remember that they are responsible to take the garbage out.
They can remember to get up if they are motivated to remember. When has your child ever forgotten to get up for Christmas morning? He got up because he was motivated.
If we force them to choose to remember and choose to accept the responsibility we are training our children to succeed. If we are trying to get them to do a job by yelling and nagging we are damaging the relationship.
The goal is to raise a responsible child. One that God can get to reach his or her full potential.
Tomorrow: How to select a consequence for not completing their responsibility?