Do you find yourself getting frustrated that your kids don’t help? You are not alone in this one! Frustration happens in families when one or more parents take on the responsibility of juggling just about everything in a family and they become worn out, frustrated and frazzled. Certainly with little kids, its unrealistic to expect them to take on roles and responsibilities of a parent but for older children there is certainly a number of ways they can help.
Start with changing your thinking – start to think of your family as a team, no matter how big or small its a team and everyone should contribute for the good of everyone. All children, regardless of age can certain make their bed, tidy their room, set the table and prepare breakfast or a number of steps towards this anyway.
Try to develop that sense of teamwork – it often doesn’t come naturally just the same in business or sport, you need good leadership and ownership from its members. A family is the same. You are all in this together and it is a ‘we’ not a ‘me’. Divide the jobs up to be done: there are personal and family jobs. So make a list and divide. Look carefully at the list and work out who can do what, involvement of your children is essential at this step.
Kids jobs should look like this: dirty clothes in washing basket, making beds, tidying bedrooms, packing lunchbag in schoolbag, putting clean clothes away. These will not take them long to do. For other jobs, make the list and get them to choose. As for those unpopular jobs – rotation is the key, rotate who takes out the rubbish, unpacks the dishwasher everyday.
As parents you will need to remind children it is not their priority however avoid the nagging! Serve dinner without the table being set, knives and forks will be quickly found! Avoid over-loading your children with jobs or they will become resentful. And avoid paying children to help out in a family. Paying children gives them a self-centred attitude in life. Belonging to a family teaches children a lot about belonging to groups, and if you always pay them they look at the world by ‘what’s in this for me?’ rather than ‘how can I help out?’ attitude. Think about how this would look in a workplace of the future... even for young children work out what they can do and how they can help rather than say “they are too young for that”, you will be setting them on a path to teamwork rather than being self centred. It all starts at home. Go to www.babysmiles.com.au for more parenting strategies.