I’m sure you’ve said this to yourself. I know I have, at least once or twice.
You think for a moment that your kids should perform a menial household chore – e.g. putting away their toys, cleaning their dishes off the table, helping you bring grocery bags into the house from the car. They’re old enough to perform the chore physically and mentally, and they’re right there in front of you. However, then you think about what a pain in the neck it will be to get them to do it.
So, you just do it yourself. You reinforce your children’s sloth and entitlement.
Let’s face it, while you may have just gotten whatever you need to get done fairly efficiently, you’re neglecting an important aspect of parenting. You’re not doing your job.
Think about it. Sure, we all need to just get household stuff done sometimes. However, just getting it done isn’t our primary role as parents, is it? “Just getting household stuff done” is what professional home cleaners do. On the other hand, one of parents’ primary roles is to teach their children to be competent, responsible human beings.
If you think your role as parent is more important than your role as “professional home cleaner,” then you need to slow down and figure out how to teach your children new habits of responsibility.
Some parents will argue that “just doing it themselves” is justified because teaching life skills like cleaning and organizing is a far lower priority than helping their kids get into college. So, their kids are excused from household chores so they can spend more time doing homework and engaging in “enrichment activities.”
Sure, prepping for college is important, but adulthood isn’t all about college admissions. Kids who learn how to shoulder domestic tasks are learning things they’ll need when they get jobs, such as proactively searching for things that need to be done and making decisions when unexpected circumstances arise.
Besides, believe it or not, once kids begin to do household chores, they may well find some they enjoy doing. I’ll be writing soon about how my boys have come to enjoy doing certain chores, so that they gladly do them on their own. In other words, chores have become play for them.