Chores vs. Service

Today was going to be about why children should serve in their families.  We've talked about service at a national level and service at a community level and it's time to bring it on home to a family level.  But first we need to talk about chores.

In many homes, each kid has a chore chart.  The kids add a sticker or a check mark to their little chart when they complete a chore.  Often there's a reward (allowance money or otherwise) for filling in the entire chart.  It's about completing a task and being accountable for your actions.  Kids learn responsibility and consequences for their decisions.  Afterall, who wants to go without allowance money?

Chores also teach that helping out around the house is something that needs to be done but it's no fun.  Chores.  The dreaded word.  A task that needs to be completed before fun play can begin or in order to receive a reward.  We need kids to help around the house but can we please not call it chores?  Kids need to learn that in a family everyone helps out and that it can be fun.

 
"Big Sister C" of Sew Like Sisters uses a shortened Swiffer to clean.  Click on the photo for more tips from Sew Like Sisters.

"Big Sister C" of Sew Like Sisters uses a shortened Swiffer to clean.  Click on the photo for more tips from Sew Like Sisters.

 

Start young!

Young kids love to help out.  Let them!  Show clearly in your words and facial expressions that you appreciate their efforts.  My daughter absolutely loves to put the silverware away.  Sure, it takes a little longer when it's one utensil at a time but it's totally worth it.  My daughter is learning that helping out around the house is something she can do and that mommy appreciates it when she helps out.

                Kids can do laundry!  Click on the photo for more laundry tips from Make it Do.  

                Kids can do laundry!  Click on the photo for more laundry tips from Make it Do.  

Let them try!

Let them show you how much they can help out.  There are dozens of lists out there on age appropriate tasks.  Don't believe them!  Use common sense (ie. don't give your 2 year old a sharp knife to cut up veggies for dinner) and let your kid help however they think they can.  Young kids can help take the laundry out of the dryer, mop the floor, and scrub the bathroom sink but they can also surprise you by wanting to help with another task.  Let them try!

Kids can clean the toilet, with some adult help!  Click the photo for more tips on having kids help out at anothergranolamom.

Kids can clean the toilet, with some adult help!  Click the photo for more tips on having kids help out at anothergranolamom.

Enjoy!

Helping out is fun when mom and dad think it's fun.  It's all about attitude.  Enjoy the moment.  Blow on the soap bubbles, ride the vacuum cleaner, make faces in the mirror as it's getting clean.  Clean up as messes happen so children see consequences for their actions and that it's ok to make a mistake but they need be responsible for them.  When cleaning is fun, a little spilt milk won't ruin the day.

This takes patience.  Some extra planning helps too.  Think about your common cleaning tasks, break them into smaller steps, and decide ways that your children can do the steps.  Natural cleaners are nice so you're not worried about your toddler drinking the bleach and, no matter what you use, be there with your kids at all times to prevent accidents.

Serving our families by helping to keep the house clean teaches teamwork and bonds families together as they share in a common goal.  That's an important lesson for every kid to learn.  Start young!  Let them try!  And, most importantly, enjoy!

Photos: All photos in this post were taken from other sites.  Click the photos to get more tips.  Little Hands Can does not necessarily agree with all opinions of the sites but we sure do appreciate seeing kids serve!