On your evening stroll through the house, you spot a dirty sock on the living room floor, some paintings on the bench in the hallway, gym clothes hanging in the bathroom. You just walk on by and sit yourself down with a cup of tea and read. If that’s you, congratulations, you’ve mastered the fine art of letting go and delegating responsibility to your kids!
If, instead, you’re running around the house, picking up all of those things and some more, working your stress levels up in the evening, making it difficult to sleep. Perhaps you should consider altering your behavior because, in the long run, it’ll wear you down.
Living with kids means an endless stream of things to do. The wash basket always seems to be overflowing. There’s always someone who needs a ride to soccer practice. There’s always a school outing to prepare.
This is how it should be. This is what you signed up for when you decided to have kids. But you can address this in two different ways. You can do it all by yourself, never asking for help from anyone. Or you can decide that these tasks are not only yours to complete, the kids have to help out as well.
Sometimes we might feel as if the first approach is the easy way out. Things usually get done a lot faster if you do it yourself. But you run the risk of becoming the martyr who does it all her on her own and ends up stressed out and bitter. In the long run, the second approach is the only viable one, for both you and your family.
Already at a young age, you can start to include your kids in the daily activities of running a household. Let them help out with cooking, cleaning, and laundry. Give them a few tasks that they are responsible for. Emphasize the importance of completing them, but try to make it a fun activity. Don’t micromanage them in how to do their chores, instead, let them come up with a solution themselves. Only help them out if they ask for it, and even then, try not to give them the whole solution, but give them some help along the way.
Cleaning their rooms is another area that can cause some friction in a household. Up until a year ago, I was cleaning the kids’ rooms. Of course, they had to help out somewhat, but to be honest, I did most of the cleaning because I thought it was easier that way. Nowadays, they are responsible for tidying their own rooms. Whenever needed we put up a note on our family planning whiteboard that reminds the kids that this week it’s time to clean their rooms. Of course, I help them out if they need to, but in whole, they are the ones doing it.
Also, I’ve decided to not nag at them for all the things that are piling up on the floor of their rooms. If that’s how they want it, that’s fine with me. We’re all different with different priorities and just because I like a clear space, doesn’t mean that they necessarily do. I’ve found that their rooms don’t get messier than before and the great upside is that we don’t have as much conflict when it comes to cleaning as we used to do.
If you do feel as if their room has crossed the line into becoming a complete disaster, simply ask them if they don’t feel the need to clean up a bit. Most kids will see that their room is in need of tidying, but perhaps the thought of starting was too overwhelming and they simply need some help to get started.
Show your kids that household chores are necessary, but teach them how to do them effectively to save time for doing things that they really want. Life has to be more than doing the laundry or cleaning the bathroom.