Spring is in the air! It is a perfect opportunity to engage little ones in spring-cleaning. Seems easy. Right? If your family is anything like ours, I more often elected to do the work myself… and it pains me to admit to that choice! It was easier, faster, and alleviated me from being frustrated in getting my kids to pitch in. In simple terms, I wanted to have more time to have fun on weekends. Sound familiar? Read on to learn better strategies to avoid my shortcomings.
As our family grew to having four little boys, I’ve been forced to change my ways. It is impossible to keep up with the workload without everyone’s help. Because I didn’t insist my elder boys do chores until they were older, I had to reserve nearly four months of weekends to get them engaged in helping out. Comparatively, the younger kids received the benefit of my new wisdom and happily take pride and ownership in their work, often completing their tasks before their older siblings.
If your child is able to follow simple commands, such as throwing something in the garbage or putting toys in a box, they are ready for chores (usually around 18 months). By starting them early you help build their confidence, engage in teamwork, and instill responsibility. My 18-month old sweeps and wipes with glee. I still have to complete his work, but at this point, participation is the most important factor. My four-year-old cleans toilets better than I do! Instead of viewing it as taking away play time, like my older boys did, it just something we do together.
As a professional in the wellness field, I’m astounded at seeing corporations struggle with their workforce’s productivity as it relates to resiliency. I question if we engage our children in chores and establishing a consistent schedule – can thwart this disturbing trend later in life? Repetition fosters confidence. Confidence fosters resiliency. Resiliency is desirable character trait with infinite potential.
Honestly, I still struggle with insisting on completing chores on the weekends. I want to play! I won’t sugarcoat it – it’s hard to stay consistent, be mindful about creating the bandwidth to teach these lessons, and stay the course. I’m happy to report our housework is usually complete within an hour. No matter your family size, I strongly encourage you to consider engaging young ones early and stay consistent. As parents, we can help foster teamwork, responsibility and resiliency from choosing chores!