Managing chores for kids can be a fate worse that death. They procrastinate and whine. They slump onto the floor like boneless chickens. They waste more time fighting doing their chores than they would spend actually doing the chores.
For parents, finding age-appropriate chores for kids can be a task in and of itself. Managing their tasks while attending to your own work is stressful. It’s easy to just let them do what they want, as long as they keep quiet. Too many times we allow a tablet or TV to babysit them, and that presents its own set of problems.
Night time becomes another set of tasks fraught with peril. Getting kids bathed and ready for bed. Making sure everyone’s settled down for the night. Somehow finding time to read Scripture and pray.
In our house, I’m ashamed to say, the thing we need the most – spending time with God – is sometimes the first thing that is skipped when our daughter has tested us all evening.
If only there were a way to get all of this chaos into a manageable structure.
Despite their protests to the contrary, kids crave structure. The routine of knowing what needs to be done can actually be comforting to a child. When so much in their life is beyond their control, chores can create a sense of ownership if handled correctly.
Chores for kids help eliminate power struggles as well. When our daughter is given the autonomy to decide (within some boundaries) what tasks she needs to get done, she takes pride in her work. Crossing items off a list gives her a sense of accomplishment, and there’s always lots of praise when that list is finished.
When it comes to prayer and Bible time, she loves to do the reading herself. We try to start with the daily readings, but often she wants to flip through the Bible to find another passage to read. I try to balance my own need to check off an item (the daily reading) with her need to have some control (whichever Scripture catches her eye).
Her journey is not my journey, I keep telling myself.
One thing we’ve instituted is a chore chart. It outlines her tasks for the day, and gives her a structured list that she can check off for a sense of accomplishment. Our daughter helped us decide which chores to list, which gave her ownership of the tasks.
We laminated our copy and put it on the fridge. When a chore is completed she crosses it off with dry-erase marker. She loves this part the most. At the end of the week, she has a page full of check marks showing all she has accomplished.
Are you going through the same struggles we are? How are you dealing with it? Is there one thing that works best for you? Believe me, I’d love hearing what gets the best results in your family.
If you’d like to try our chore chart, I’ve created two versions (my daughter prefers the blue one, naturally). If this sounds like just the thing to help your kids get organized and to keep you sane, subscribe and download it now!