I think one of the most important lessons we can teach our kids is responsibility. I have always told my family and friends: my kids are either my problem now or society’s probably later- so I try to teach them how to be right now and do what they’re supposed to do.
The best way to teach kids responsibility at an early age – chores. I actually didn’t mind chores growing up which is probably why I am somewhat of a neat freak now. If my house is in disarray, I can’t function and then everyone is in trouble #workinprogress
According to the Center for Parenting, research indicates that children who have a set of chores have higher self-esteem, are more responsible, and are better able to deal with frustration and delay gratification, all of which contribute to greater success in school.* Walah. Bring it on!
This past week, we started chores in the house. At school, my oldest son gets “doe-joe” points if he is a model student and/or does a good deed. So at home, we decided go with “doe-go” dollars as in “do good,” dollars for chores. It was easy peasy and I was willing to give it whirl with my 4 and 6-year old.
This is how the conversation somewhat went down:
Me: “Ok, we are going to start chores this week for an allowance.”
Kids: “Allowance? What’s that?”
Kids: “Oh, like doe-joe points at school?”
Me: Blank stare…”Ohh, yes.”
Me: “We’ll call them doe-go dollars, like do-good dollars, ok?”
And then. . . the skies opened up (insert hallelujah music here)
- The playroom was immediately cleaned and vacuumed (with little assistance mind you) and I didn’t have to ask twice.
- The family room was dusted (with some of my help) without any fighting over who was going to do it.
- The beds were made with no issues like whining that tends to drive me KRAZY.
- Socks were put on without “I can’t” or “I don’t want to.” Is this a joke?
- Shoes were put away BEFORE I broke my ankle and tripped over them.
- And most important, they learned to work together – for now at least.
I should have started this when they were 1 and 3 years-old. Now, I’m broke.
In any event, I am glad the kids want to help and can appreciate earning (and saving) money. The best thing about having three kids: I will not be cleaning as much (live in housekeepers); the yard will always be done (yes, work needs be done outside too darlings!); and the laundry service will come to a halt soon (they’ll be washing their own darn clothes) because I am about tired of all these socks.
I can’t wait . . . because the sun always comes out after the rain when your KIDS clean your house. Off to the nail salon!
*Center for Parenting Education website