I've mostly made my kids work because there's just a lot of work to be done in a family of 9.
I also knew that I wanted them to have the habit of hard work for when they got older.
But I'm learning that it's not just about work. It's also about training my kids to do certain things.
Instead of just saying "go vacuum your room", I have to first teach them how to do it.
Then I have to follow this with a training period where I am make sure that they are doing it right.
Later, I get to give them lots of practice in vacuuming.
Here's how that looks like in my home right now:
- The 3 year old is in the midst of "practicing" telling when he has to use the bathroom. From there we'll move on to some more training, then practicing in that particular area.
- My 5 year old is learning how to make her own breakfast. We've got the toast thing down and now she's moved up to microwaved oatmeal. I walked her through the steps and then I shadowed her as she did it. Now she can pretty much do it on her own. But I also have her make her little brother's oatmeal, too, for practice.
- My 9 year old is learning how to make salads. At first it was just tearing up lettuce and washing it. Then we moved on to cutting up tomatoes and cucumbers. Now, I am putting her in charge of choosing the salads she wants to make with dinner, as well. (I hope she'll be more likely to eat the salad if she's making it.)
- I know we're kind of late to the game here, but I'm working on general hygiene with my 11 year old boy. Things like the proper way to clean yourself in the shower; how to put on deodorant; nail care; and other bathroom issues. I never really thought about actually teaching this stuff. I guessed that they would eventually just figure it out on their own. But, I think I read that it actually takes 8 teaching times to learn a skill.
- My almost 13 year old boy wants/needs to learn to wake up on his own. Right now, he's doing a good job of waking up the first time I tell him to get up, but we're going to get an alarm and then see if we can figure out a consequence/motivation for him to do it on his own. Then he can practice this for the rest of his life.
- My 14 year old daughter is going to learn how to iron. Since she's gone to school all day, this will be a weekend training thing. But, then she'll get lots of practice every Saturday for at least a few months.
- Finally, my 16 year old wants to learn how to make Sunday dinners. She already knows how to do most stuff in the kitchen so I think this means letting her do it all on her own. But, it will take some patience on my part to let her.
That's really the whole thing. It would be much easier if I just continued to do these things myself instead of walking my kids through the steps over and over again.
But I want my children to be responsible adults with the necessary skills to
Having this sense of purpose to all the work I do, helps me feel good about being deep in the trenches of motherhood.