Fall, winter, spring…it doesn’t matter the season, kids don’t naturally want to do chores, especially, though, in the summer. I think kids get this idea that, because school is out, it’s time for FREEDOM which looks like sipping coconuts on the beach. Ok, maybe not that drastic, but use the words chores and summer in the same sentence, and I guarantee you’ll get moans and groans because that means an element of work and responsibility, and those two things interrupt freedom, in their minds. Pull up your bootstraps, Mom and Dad, because we can’t back down.
Chores are healthy and vital to childhood. It’s easy to lax on chores during the Summer since schedules everywhere seem to dwindle for a season, but here are three reasons why Summer chores are the bomb!
1. It gives kids something to do, so they don’t get BORED!
2. It teaches them responsibility.
3. They are contributing to the daily household responsibilities which frees you up to spend time with them.
If your kids willingly and happily do all their chores, then you don’t have to read any further, and maybe you should be the one writing this post. If, however, your kids are like mine and would rather spend their time doing something else, then read on.
So, how do you get kids to actually do their chores without sounding like a nagging cymbal?
I’m glad you asked because that’s exactly what God has been speaking to me about lately. I realized that I had become a nagging Mom, constantly telling my kids to clean their rooms, do their chores, and pick up their belongings in the living room. Do you know what the fruit of it was? Frustration all around. I was frustrated that I had to keep reminding them (and sometimes they still didn’t do it), and my kids were frustrated at my constant nagging. Something had to change.
The first key was my husband and I getting on the same page. Parenting is hard, and we have to be a team and support each other. It’s worth the time and effort to sit down and talk about proper discipline measures and how, as a team, Mom and Dad are going to parent. If you want to parent well, this can’t be optional.
The second thing that wasn’t optional was backing down on our values of being responsible with responsibilities and taking care of our stuff. I wasn’t willing to just overlook when my kids didn’t do their chores. That’s when we came up with a plan that worked for us and the ages of our kids (14 and 11). It looked something like this: I remind them in the morning and afternoon to check the chore chart. If by the end of the day, they haven’t done their chores, then they get charged a fee for not doing them. I present them with an invoice once a week. If you think this is harsh, so did my kids. Of course, life, or more specifically Mom and Dad, were being totally unfair. But you know what? It worked. They don’t want to spend their hard-earned money or their allowance on something they can do themselves. I feel like it’s a win, win all around. The key is finding a system that works for you and sticking to it.
“The master said, ‘Well done, my good and faithful servant. You have been faithful in handling this small amount, so now I will give you many more responsibilities. Let’s celebrate together!’” Matthew 25:23
Giving our kids chores and small responsibilities will help them as adults, AND because they will have learned to be responsible, they will be entrusted with more! Do take the time to read Max Lucado’s precious book, One Hand, Two Hands. Board books with rhyming text always get me, but this one is such a sweet way to show us that our hands are a blessing from God, whether they are being used for petting our puppy or washing dishes!
How do you encourage your kids to get in gear and do their chores?