I’m concerned that a vast majority of kids in the US are really lacking in a sense of responsibility, work ethic, and the satisfaction that comes with doing a job well. So many of them will leave home with hardly any life skills, and will then have to suffer tough consequences and have to learn on the fly lessons that they didn’t receive from their parents, for whatever reason.
I believe it all starts with working with children when they are young, when work is still play to them, and they enjoy working alongside Mommy and Daddy. They are little sponges that want to soak up everything. Granted, sometimes it is easier to send them off to play by themselves and get the housework or whatever needs to be done by myself, but resorting to this on a regular basis is doing them a disservice.
Children aren’t given to us by God as playthings, entertainment, or a means to fill a love and affection void in our lives. We are meant to be stewards of them, understanding that they belong to God and have simply been entrusted to us for a short while. This sort of perspective on raising children makes me take parenting much more seriously.
I have been pretty amazed at the capabilities of my boys, even at the young age of two….they can do alot more than I used to give them credit for. I have gradually been adding and teaching tasks to my four year old and have been thrilled to see the pride and excitement he has when he knows he has done a good job helping me. My two year old is beginning to display more and more signs of willingness to help, too, especially when he is praised for a job well done.
Just a short list of tasks my four year old can complete or do with my help;
1. Make his bed
2. Use a stic-vac to clean the wood floors.
3. Put hangers on his shirts and hang them up/ fold blankets, towels, and rags
4. Wipe down his bathroom with disinfecting wipes
5. Wash the bottom half of the van.
6. Help sort laundry by colors.
7. Make sandwiches by himself, and make scrambled eggs and use the toaster with a little help from Mommy.
8. Clean the toy room
9. Help pick up the yard.
10. Wash plastic dishes and clear the table.
And many more….
My two year old can:
1. Fetch diapers and wipes
2. Put trash in the garbage can
3. Help put away toys
4. Put blankets and pillows on his bed, dirty clothes in the laundry basket, and help tidy his room.
5. Put his used dishes in the sink.
6. Gather up his books and take them to the boys’ bookshelf.
7. Help put hangers on his shirts and put his pants and shorts in dresser drawers.
Both boys also help me with the laundry, putting clothes in the washer and then transferring them to the dryer.
Sometimes chores take longer when I bring in the boys, but it is worth it, especially when I know that they are learning basic skills that will help them throughout life. I am their mom, but that doesn’t mean I’m going to spend all of my time that they live in my house picking up after them, entertaining them, and requiring nothing of them. They most likely will get married when they grow up, but before that I want them to be able to take care of themselves as well as be capable and sensitive to help their future wives. It’s best to start now while they want to help, instead of waiting until they are no longer interested in learning.
Here is a basic example of Xander’s summer chore chart:
Seeking to fully live,