Why do parents try to ‘do it all’? I have never understood parents who do all the work around the house while the kids do close to nothing. Two problems with this – (i) the kids are being taught to be lazy, self-centered, and increases their dependency; and (ii) the already time-starved parents end up doing all the work. When you invest time teaching kids to share the load at home, you will save a lot of time.Often parents don’t spend the time teaching because they feel the child is not able to learn how to do it, won’t do a good enough job, or it will take too long to teach them. However, in many cases these are false assumptions. Take a simplistic example of tying a kid’s shoelaces… Now, you can do it for them for the rest of your life if you please. But a smarter method would be to teach them to do it themselves as soon as possible. Likewise – the dishes, tidying the room, feeding the family pet etc. If you feel the job is ‘too hard’ or they won’t do a good enough job then you could do the job together, until they are ready. (Actually, the same principle can be applied to junior staff at work)
Some approaches include:1) Develop good habits in your kids when they are young. (Don’t wait until they are 10 years old.) 2) Slow down and invest time teaching the kids how to do jobs. (Yes, it will take you longer in the short term, but the longer term benefits are worth it for them and you). 3) Do jobs together 4) Encourage, encourage, encourage. 5) Teach them to delay gratification by doing their chores before their leisure activities. 6) Communicate the importance of the family sharing and helping each other. 7) Lessons worth passing on:
- if you made the mess clean it up,
- to do the job without being told.
- Offer to help others.