Below are 5 ways Rob and I get our kids to do their chores:
Before we assign the chores, we talk to the kids about what is expected (well, this is what we do on a good day when we are at our best). We explain to them what gets us frustrated. We actually ask them to tell us what gets us frustrated and why. They know. We brainstorm together what needs to be done around the house. We talk about what will happen if the chores are not done. We explain that we are a family and we each have a role to make the household work.
When we allow natural consequences to happen, we have seen our kids’ behavior change quickly in the right direction. It only takes a few times for our kids to not do their laundry and have to go to school wearing dirty clothes before they will make a point of washing their clothes. It only took ONE time for a particular Soutter kid to forget to pack their lunch box and have to go a day with no lunch. . .they make sure that chore is done now.
If only all chores had natural consequences attached to them. I mean what is the natural consequence of not taking out the trash? That it overflows all over the kitchen floor? Well my kids just wouldn't care. And for those kind of chores we have to assign a consequence. And for us that is they are not allowed to play or go out with friends until the chore is done. Yes, they have had to cancel plans.
3. Require "Repeats" as neccessary
When we talk about what is expected with our kids, we do not only talk about the particular "whats", but we also talk about the "hows". We expect our children to do a job thoroughly and with a good attitude. If a job is done with any complaining/arguing or is done poorly, we make the child repeat the chore. We feel like this is training our kids to not be lazy or ungrateful.
Now, I do need to remember that the quality of my kid's work is not going to be the same as an adult's work and that is ok, but the work does need to be done with excellence.
4. Build Over Time
Rome was not built in a day and neither is our children's character. One of the things we try to keep in the forefront of our mind is the long-term. What is it we want our kids to be like when they walk out of our home at age 18? We are not going to get there today or even next week, but we keep setting the expectations, reminding, disciplining, practicing, and praising over and over and over.
Everyone likes to be thanked for work they have done . And oh how my kids beam when I brag to Rob/Dad about what a good job they have done.
Of course the best way to instill work ethic is to role model it for our children. This is where I often fall short. I can get the housework done, but often my attitude stinks. But again, this blog is not about being perfect; it is about being intentional. I truly believe that I ought to approach household tasks with joy and thanksgiving. And so today, I renew my commitment to choosing my attitude and creating a home that is not only neat and organized, but full of love, peace, joy, and grateful hearts. May my kids watch and follow.
I am sharing this post over at Beneath the Rowan Tree and Somewhat Simple and Serenity Now.