Getting kids to pitch in this summer
The Parental Paradox: Wishing for our children’s healthy growth, development and independence, while secretly mourning their quickly passing childhood, innocence and need for us as parents.
Our children do always need us, but they need us to see them for who they are becoming not who they once were.
“Why is it that during the school year, my child functions ‘on her own’, but during the summer, she barely does anything to help out at home?”
At Parenting Power™, our motto is Confident, Capable, Calm. It is a way of life for us within the company, within our homes and our wish for your families as well. Knowing that one can only change one’s own behavior, we approach parenting struggles by placing the onus upon ourselves as parents to begin teaching and expecting the responsibility we desire.
Express confidence in your children and their responsibility.
1. Meet your child at his/her level
It is always important to give your child tasks and chores that are age-appropriate. Break tasks into small pieces for younger children. Remember to increase and change responsibilities as your child ages. For a list of age-appropriate chores, check this out.
2. Create routines with your child
Set up daily routines with your children to help them understand your expectations. Involving your children in the planning (age 3+) shows that you value their input. Routines set children up for success and decrease chaos. Create charts so that the child can follow what needs to be done –pictures and words work well if your little ones don’t read. Older children might keep these charts/to-do lists in an agenda or even on their cell phones. Keep laminated lists of what to pack in backpacks, hockey bags, piano-lesson bags, etc.
Help your child to feel capable by teaching responsibility.
3. Teach the child how to do the task
We are often guilty of expecting our children to get involved without teaching them how to do it. After initially, showing the child how to do the task, do it together, and finally, let the child do it alone with support.
When we ask children to clean a room, their understanding of clean may differ from our own. Clarifying each step in the task is a great way to decrease misunderstandings. Taking pictures of the finished project is a great way for you to communicate the end goal.
4. Value effort
Acknowledge when your child attempts a task or partially completes it. This will help them to feel capable of trying again. Accept that your child will probably not do it perfectly right away and perhaps for a long time to come. Keep certain tasks (perfectly folded laundry, hospital corners on the beds) for yourself rather than ‘fixing’ them when your child is not looking. Redoing our child’s task is almost the same as screaming, “You are not responsible enough to do this!”
When things end up on your shoulders, ask for help clearly and respectfully.
5. Say what you mean and mean what you say
Follow routines and show your child that responsibility is valued in your home. Children often do little for themselves at home if they have learned that by waiting, someone will do things for them. Once you have determined your child’s responsibilities, follow through. If the task doesn’t get done, then have your child do the work before any play and don’t let things proceed until the work is done. Once there is a new habit of taking responsibility, you can allow your little one a bit of freedom on the timing of the task. If it works, great. If not, back to “Work before play.” While it might not seem like it at the time, learning this lesson now will be a lot less painful than learning it with a multi-million-dollar marketing presentation, or even a $15/hour job.
When children gain responsibility, they feel more capable. Next comes the confidence to try new things and to stay calm when faced with increasing independence. This may be one of the greatest gifts we can give to children of any age.
This week, we’re featuring Teaching Kids About Money. The $5 deal is on until August 1st!
Parents often ask us if chores and allowance need to be linked together. That’s why we thought we’d put this recording on special this week. It’s loaded with allowance tools!
The rest of our downloadable recordings are $10 each. You can find them here. Of course, if you are a member, you have access all of them on the member website. We’d love to hear which one is your favourite.