Dang those evil chores!! Should kids have to do chores around the house? And if so at what age should you start to implement such things?
Alex, do mommy a favor and take out the garbage please. Hey Kyle, make sure that your bed is made before your ready to leave baby. Anthony, make sure that you toys are put away, and where they belong please.
Just to name a few daily requests. But are they realistic? Am I slave driving my kids? Is it fair to them that they have to do things like clear their plate after a meal, or empty the dishwasher? The complaints used to be endless with constant reminders. At times I felt like a broken record! What good is it anyway to waste all of that energy in trying to get them to do something that was causing me so much grief? Wouldn’t it just be easier to do it all my damn self without the commentary?
NO! You see, kids even from a very young age, crave structure and discipline. They even yearn for it! Though they may not realize it at the time when your asking your sweet little angel to get things done. Still, its life. Why you ask? Well imagine for a second the utter chaos of trying to get ready in the early morning for your very first job interview. However, you woke up late because you partied like a rock star the night before. One of your friends parents were out of town and he decided to throw a house party!!! (Not in my house!) and God forbid you missed it!! So panic sets it because you were oh so busy last night, you now have – no idea what to wear to this stupid job interview! So you fling on some wrinkled shirt from your overfilled laundry basket that stinks like B-O and stale beer and go to run out the door. Damn!! Where the hell are my car keys!!! Frantically you run about the house screaming at everyone in your path (they don’t understand how important today is!) To finally remember that when you walked in at 3 a.m. you flung your keys on the table but missed and they fell behind that darn couch!!! Ohhhh boy! your now going to be really really late!!! You finally make it across town looking disheveled and all amped up from the rush of adrenaline, that your new would be boss thinks that you’re “on” something, thanks you for coming in and hires the next person in line. That sucks!! I mean, I am sure you are way more qualified than he is, right?
Wrong! So how did this happen? Reality check folks. There has been no structure in this kids life, he knows no responsibility, no time management skills, no organizational skills, no respect for other peoples time. Just to name a few. So how do we as parents teach our children these valuable life lessons? How do we lay strong solid foundations for our little ones to walk upon, to ensure their success?
I’m no genius by far, however as the many things I have learned, I’ve learned through trial and error. So hear me out on this. It all starts when they are infants. As I stated in a previous post, you are your child’s number one teacher and the learning begins the moment they enter this world. They immediately learn that you are there to protect, nurture, and care for them. You are their safe place right? You without even knowing it are tested each and every time you speak, react, discipline, encourage, and do. All eyes are on you! eeek you are responsible for the man or woman they will one day become….. oh boy lol….. well its not that bad you perhaps just need a little tweak huh? Well lets start with the early stuff, the infant stuff that as new parents you learn as you go right. Sleeping for starters, now I know this is a touchy one for some however, it is ok to let your baby cry. (So long as he is not in any danger of choking or suffocating) Don’t misunderstand me, I don’t mean for hours, however if hes crying for several min (sometimes feels like a lifetime I know!) that’s ok. You are teaching him to self sooth. Your gentle shhh shhh shhh can let him know that you are there but that its time for bed and he will fall out in no time. ( this method can sometimes take a few days to master but he will be sleeping through the night before you know it (as long as you stick to your guns and start before its too late) By too late I mean that you have already set the bedtime tone of coddling until he is fast asleep, and at that point he has only learned that if he is not put to sleep he wont sleep. My children were all sleeping through the night by the time they were three weeks old (a solid 6-8 hours) And as soon as we both woke, refreshed and ready for the day I coddled them till the cows came home, with energy to do so. The domino effect here is that when you are not rested as a parent you are stressed out and your baby feels it, like it or not. More rest = less stress for you and the baby…. domino effect number two less stress to take out on daddy = happy relationship. You see where this is going? Ok so teaching them to self sooth as a child, how does that help as an adult? Well as an adult we encounter stresses of life daily, if we have never learned to self sooth we will often find ourselves in co-dependent situations. Not very healthy. Count on yourself first anyone else that comes along is just a bonus that you learned to value rather than take for granted.
Lets jump ahead to your little one walking… if he can walk he can put his things away. Baby Chores- Of course with your help in the early stages of teaching him, however its never too early to start. In our home everything in its place and a place for everything. This is not a crazy idea that needs to be handled harshly, or stress you out in itself, on the contrary – If its something you have instilled in yourself or your children it will be second nature to do so effortlessly. The adult result- well organized individuals, who aren’t needlessly stressing themselves out. Fast forward to teenagers needing their schoolwork to be neat and organized. Your Welcome 😉
Giving your kids chores to do helps them to establish good adult behaviors that will last a lifetime. Will your sons wife put up with him being a dirty slob? Not for long! So teach them young how to do laundry, how to fold and put away their clothes so that on the day of the big interview his things are not only ready, but he knows exactly where to find them. Let them put the garbage to the curb on the specified days so that as an adult he’s not that neighbor who has a garbage dump for a yard, attracting every mouse and rodent from here to tim-buck-two. Make them empty the dishwasher and put them away his wife will thank you for it! Make them clear their own plate to teach them respect for the person who spend time cooking for them! Allow them to assist you in your project so that they learn how to do thing, show then how you budget your homes finances, all so that they become independent adults not co-depend adults. Give them their best shot in life with a strong foundation on which to walk. Life is tough enough on it’s own. Let’s create great adults, they are our future.