How I got my 10 yr old son to clean the bathrooms.
If you have kids over the age of 3, they can help with the household chores. They REALLY can.
Having a chore chart and stickers and incentives is all good (click here to learn how I make our family chore charts that WORK)- but that is NOT why they kids will do a good job on their task and do it regularly without complaint.
They do it because they KNOW WHY they should, outside of just doing it because mom asked.
How do they learn WHY they should?
Our family has regular Family Councils.
What is that you ask? It is a meeting with all the family members to discuss changes, problems, vacations, needs, worries, hopes, and celebrations of success.
HOW do we do it?
My husband and I usually know its time for a family council when we have a lot on our to-do lists and the house seems to be in disarray and we have important things coming up and we want everyone aware and on the same page. We block out a 2 hour period in our schedule on one day. Usually it is Sunday afternoons, when everyone is home. We let the family know a few days in advance (or more if there is a lot of scheduling going on with activities/jobs, etc) that we are having Family Council on this day at this time- and they are required to show up.
We then sit in a circle in the living room, and my husband conducts the council.
One of these councils we discussed the family chores.
We had been having more complaining lately and we'd noticed some of the chores being done less than well. It was time to discuss WHY we do chores as a family. And NO----- we do NOT pay our kids for regular chores that keep the house in working order.
We sat down together and addressed this issue with the kids.
They all cast their eyes down KNOWINGLY.
My husband and I quickly glanced at each other sending a silent signal that we'd hit the mark. :)
My husband asked the kids why we do chores.
"Because you told us to."
We then discuss this type of dialogue:
Who makes the messes in this house? Is it mom and dad? No. Its you most of the time.
Who uses the bathtubs and the toilets the most? Is it mom and dad? No. Its you most of the time.
Who uses all of the dishes in the house? Is it always mom and dad? No. Its not just us.
But do WE use them?
YES. We do.
So who should be cleaning all of these things?
"ALL OF US." Thats right.
And if we clean them, should we just clean it a little bit? Or should we do it really well?
WHY? Because if we don't do it well, then it gets gross.
SO-----------> this coming week, why will you do your assigned chores?
"Because we all need to help."
And I will add here- that my husband and I ARE ON THE CHORE chart. Our kids know what our chores are. I think it is 100% important that kids see us do what we ask them to do. It makes so much sense!
We have had family councils about our finances letting the kids know when things are low, and when things are high and letting them have input on how we can either tighten our belts or help the less fortunate or finish a home project. We have councils about vacations, and get the kids' input on what they want to see and do. We have councils when an extended family member is ill and needs help about what we can do. We have councils about new jobs or changes in family routine due to new schools or jobs and we all have a turn to talk about things that we feel need to change in the home.
We have gotten amazing feedback from our kids! Our latest trip to Colorado was going to look much different in my mind, but with the input of my kids, we did some fun things I didn't plan on and some things that weren't on my wish list, but created some really fun memories for the entire family.
So many of the ideas that my kids have put out about how to help them feel more loved or appreciated by fellow family members have helped us become better parents. These ideas have helped the kids become more loving siblings! Ultimately these councils help our home run smoothly even though my husband and I both work and we have very full schedules.
I'm being 100% honest when I say that our kids do their chores. They really do. And often without complaint. They just do them. But I know that it is because they know WHY and they know they aren't alone. Everyone does them. They are learning LIFE skills you guys!
They are learning how to be part of a team. They are learning how to be leaders. They are learning how to do a job well done. They are learning how to stick to a task and finish it. They are learning SO MANY life skills through family chores, and they do them because they know WHY. Not for money. Not because they are coerced. Just because "thats what we do in a family."
My mom friends. STICK TO YOUR GUNS on the chores. If you kid needs to take out the trash but he forgot and his 2 friends are over, remind him and have him do it right then. If your kid makes a mess- ask them to clean it up and make sure they do it, and do it well. When you have clear communication, you can demand clear boundaries. And boundaries allow everyone the space they need to shine in their own sphere.
Chores take like 2 hours over their whole week, if that. They can do that. They REALLY can. And it is awesome life training. BUT take the time to have a family council and let them know WHY you are asking them to do it, and be clear on who does what, and what YOU are doing too so they understand.
Happy chore doing! As a busy mompreneur- you should NEVER be doing "it all" on your own. Enlist your kids. They WANT to serve you- they really do.
Happy family council going! Enlist the entire family in your goals, your dreams, and what you need to succeed. Another post on this is coming soon. :)
PLEASE comment with questions and suggestions!
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