Though the end-goal is raising children who become mature, responsible adults, training children in the area of helping around the house isn’t always easy. In fact, sometimes it can be downright awful! Children will do almost anything to get out of chores. Often kids spend more time arguing about their chores than actually doing them. Some parents throw their hands up in the air and, to alleviate the tension, end up doing the chores themselves.
Ultimately, the chore is not the issue—it’s what you are training your children for. Yes, it’s often easier to run your child’s socks upstairs and put them away, or pick up the toys in the family room. But as the parent you are not only teaching responsibility but what it means to be part of something—in this case, a family. However, the longer-term goal is to teach them the importance of working together to accomplish something bigger than themselves.
Perhaps a simple shift in attitude will help create an atmosphere in the home where kids want to help with chores.
Chores teach what it means to be part of a team. One father tells his children, “We are part of a Team-Smith. We all have to work together, or the family won’t win the game!” Rather than communicating to the child he or she has to do what mom or dad says just because, strive to instill a team spirit in the home. We all work together because we are a team, and we want to “win the game.”
You can also strive to teach children to work hard, but leave time for fun. This is a value that the child will carry into adult life. Another mom says to her children, “After we work, we get to play!” When kids begin to whine and complain, remind them of something fun coming later in the day or week. When we work together as a family to keep things rolling in the house, it opens up time more time to play.
Finally, when children balk at doing chores, you can lovingly remind them cleaning up their toys is ultimately not to please mom or dad, but God. Teach them Colossians 3:23 which says, “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters.”
Children are by nature self-focused, and it’s our job as parents to lovingly steer them toward understanding that the earth does not revolve them. Contributing to the family in the area of chores is just one way to help kids understand the big world they live in and how they play an important part in keeping it going.
I encourage you to try to make some simple shifts in the atmosphere of your home regarding chores. I am praying for you that it becomes a joy for the family and not a source of tension.
Partnering with you,
Parenting Class Video
Please let me know if you have any questions, comments, suggestions or problems with these resources!
p.s. Watch for more help in part 2!