I do my best to try to instill a sense of responsibility in my children. Sometimes I feel like a failure in teaching them respnosibility because we are so busy that I might make the decision one night to just hang out with my children right before bedtime instead of having them help me clean up after our meal. And because we are so busy, we have a hard time being consistent with having the kids help with chores each week. My husband and I have settled on two things that the kids have to do on a regular basis.
The first is help with preparing their lunches. Because my children don’t go to public school, they bring their own food to school (which I am thrilled about because I get to actually have more control over them eating good healthy food) each day. We used to allow them to have some tablet time in the morning after they get themselves fully ready for school while they wait for us to leave (this was also a motivator to help them not dawdle in getting ready for school). Now we have implemented the rule that lunches have to be made and packed also prior to tablet time. This has dramatically helped cut down on the number of tasks I have to complete as mom in the mornings and it’s teaching the children to prepare food and helping reinforce their ability to pack a balanced meal.
The second task we have been having them do more regularly is putting their clean clothes away and straightening their rooms. We struggle as a family on this one- all of us! Two of my kids will often whine and moan about having to put clothes away “again” and will take hours to complete the task. Two weeks ago I was fed up and told one daughter if she didn’t pick up her room and put her clothes away, I’d pack up all her room and only give her 1 outfit a day to wear. I had to make good on my threat and now I have a very large box of clothes in our bedroom. Not ideal for me. A few days ago, I updated the strategy with a spontaneous idea of letting her know that if she didn’t have her clothes picked up, whatever was still left on the floor was going to Goodwill. She tested me, and indeed she had to put her clothes one by one into a bag that I then dropped off at Goodwill. The fact that there was a pajama dress and tank top that she loved in that bag made the strategy even more powerful. While the jury is still out on the long term effectiveness of this strategy, she picked up her room quickly when I asked her to last night.
Being a parent is hard and consistency is key. But give yourself a little grace because you’re not perfect.