There are times when all parents feel like they exist simply to serve their kids … cooking for them, cleaning up after them, serving their every need. When your kids are babies, this makes absolute sense and is part of being a parent. However, as your kids get older, one of the best solutions for working Mums is to expect your kids to contribute to the household chores.
It’s important that the jobs are age appropriate, but the sooner you get them helping, the easier it is in the long run. However, no matter how old your kids are it’s never too late to start!
Here is a practical solution to help get your kids involved in household chores (and in time won’t make you feel like a constant nag):
“Do and explain, then do with help, then coach from the sidelines, then butt out”.
I was given this advice when my kids were little and have found it to be super useful. It focuses you on teaching your kids how to help until they get it and when they have mastered the skill you then don’t help them with that job any more.
An example is:
1. “Do and explain”: with your child there, show them how you make their bed and explain what you’re doing to complete it e.g. “I’m pulling the cover up to the pillow and then smoothing it down to make your bed in the morning”
2. “Do with help”: next time, ask them to help you e.g. “Could you please pat down the cover to make it smooth while I make it cover the bed”
3. “Coach from the sidelines”: next time, ask them to have a go. Know that if they’re little there will be lumps everywhere but praise them for doing it and give advice only where they have completely got it wrong e.g. if the cover is still bunched at the bottom of the bed
4. “Butt out”: say no more! When you’re running late for something it’s a lot easier to go backwards and do it for your kids, but when you can, stay strong and leave it to them to do since it’s not your job anymore