I am sure that most of us have felt that at one time or another we have been a slave and a servant to our children! Being a mom means being all things to everyone so that they are happy and we won’t feel like we have failed.
But one person we can be for our children is to be a teacher for them. One worthy goal to have is that by the time they are ready to leave your home, they will know how to do basic things: how to grocery shop, cook, clean a house, wash clothes, sew on a button, take the car in for an oil change, balance a check book, understand how credit/debit cards work, and basic home repairs.
But what is the best way to get your children to learn these skills? You have to give them chores. One of the best ways to build self confidence in your children isn’t a fancy vacation or gifts. It is in giving them chores which gives them a feeling of acceptance and belonging in the family.
Start giving them chores when they are young. Children love to help their moms and dads at a young age. If you wait until they are older, they will probably try to refuse.
According to some research and the author of a parenting book titled, “Children Who Do Too Little” the author, Patricia Sprinkle, discusses how today it seems that everyone discusses how moms can do it all. She says less emphasis should be placed on how women should do things exactly right, and instead children should be taught to grow into chores and to become valued partners in the family. She also wrote that chores and household responsibilities may improve your child’s chances to one day lead a happier adult life, enjoy a happier marriage and be a more valuable employee. Wives who have husbands who automatically help around the house would agree with that!
Here is a list of age appropriate chores. However, children have to be taught. They don’t know how to “clean their room”. So start teaching them early how to do each thing, with patience, and they will soon be great helpers and confident adults.
Toddlers: They can pick up their toys and personal items, feed a pet, put clothes in clothes hamper and clean clothes away in drawers, dust with a feather duster, make their bed.
Preschoolers: All of the above and they can help with gathering trash, picking up other items rather than just their things, help unload the dishwasher (except sharp knives).
Primary School (K-3rd grade): Set and clear the table, help sort clothes and put them away, help with some yard work as weeding, sweep kitchen, help bring in groceries for mom, keep their room clean, get fresh towels for their baths when needed.
Intermediate School (4-6th grade): They can begin to help with vacuuming, dusting other parts of the house, some laundry, understand how to keep kitchen counters clean. They should be totally responsible with keeping their bedroom and play / TV / homework area clean and straight which includes changing their bed linens once a week. Begin to wipe down bathroom counters and help keep the bathroom clean.
Teens (7-10th grade): These years, before they get their license to drive, are the best years to teach your children. Once they can drive, they may be away from home more with jobs and school responsibilities. At this age they can: baby sit, mow lawn, take full care of a pet, do their own laundry, iron, pack their own lunches, start to help more in the kitchen, clean the bathroom, tub and toilets.
Teenager (11–12th grade): They can fully help a mom with younger kids, run errands, cook full meals, all types of laundry, household repairs as changing light bulbs, filters in heat / air systems, car maintenance. They should be ready to live on their own.
“Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.” Luke 10: 41-42
If we delegated more, and our families contributed more, we would have more time to be at the feet of Jesus.
When we have expectations that are not met or when we have too much to do, we can begin to feel anger towards others or the situation. Four sources of anger are hurt, injustice, fear and frustration. And I know us moms feel these emotions many times, just trying to get a family member to help us or to do their part. But if you start to sense these feelings as well as irritability, impatience, raised voice, explosive actions, or argumentation then you need to confess your anger to the Lord and then seek steps to dissolve it. Teaching your children chores will help you to delegate and is a huge step in balancing your busy life.
Only 5 minutes of outdoor activity a day is all you need to improve your mood – and your self-esteem – according to a new study by researchers at the University of Essex, in England. The study also found that for the greatest mental-health benefits, you should get next to a body of water, like a river or a lake. That’s why an outdoor walk will make you feel better than a walk in a mall. Now I know why I love to go to the lake!