So, today was the day. We divided into three teams and off we went to our assigned tasks. One team went outside to pick up tree branches that had fallen in the past week’s windstorms. One team headed to the basement to do a thorough cleaning down there. And my team went to the dining room.
Now, you’d think the dining room would be the least of the tasks, but not this time. I’m about to share one of my family’s biggest secrets, so prepare yourself. The reason we went to the dining room was to finish packing up the Christmas decorations. Yes, I said it. Christmas decorations!
From the outside, our home looks normal enough. The wreaths and lights came down on schedule. Anyone passing by our house would have no thought that every single decoration, light, and bauble was being stored in my dining room. We walked past it every day and yet, it still sat there.
Today, we held a family meeting. I said that I wanted to get these seasonal chores started and, when we were selecting the specific chores for today, the kids all agreed that the Christmas stuff had to go. So, while everyone else enjoyed the warm weather, I was stuck in the house, packing up Christmas.
Actually, it wasn’t that bad. I got to spend time with the kids on my team. We talked and worked together to safely pack away all the memories for yet another year. Baby Cassandra entertained us with her babble. My grandson Ryan hid in the packing boxes, all the while asking Grandma to “rescue” him. It was fun.
In our family, it’s always been important to have our children share in the household chores. One of the most important things we teach our children is to be responsible for themselves and the world around them. And chores can teach this very well.
So many parents want to do everything for their children. I hear their arguments of, “They’re only a child for a short time.” But, if our goal as parents is to raise productive adults, then when should we start those lessons?
We teach our littlest ones to read so that, when they are bigger, they can read and understand important documents. We don’t wait to teach them to read. We teach them at a level that works for them and then we build on it.
That’s how we should treat chores. Give them small responsibilities as little kids and then build on those abilities. By the time they are in their teens, they should be able to handle themselves in many situations. Chores are amazing learning tools and should be used to help our kids learn, not only skills, but also a positive outlook on life. They learn to be proud of their accomplishments and mature attitudes about household achievements.
And, I think that’s a win for both parent and child.