Kids have essentially gone from being contributors to the household, to being waited on hand and foot. Too many moms see household duties as being outside the realm of their child's responsibilities - and their ability. It's not only sad, it's also untrue. In fact, if kids are fully capable of contributing to the mess of a house, why can't they be expected to contribute to its cleaning? The problem rests with moms. As mothers we often look at housework as the old saw "if you want it done right, you'll have to do it yourself." But, that's defeating for everybody. Kids quickly learn that the "auto-mom" will handle all the messes, laundry, cooking, cleaning, and other household jobs if they can prove their incompetence. And Moms get something out of "being the only one" who cleans the toilet right, or folds the towels like they do in department stores. But this has to stop. Otherwise, trying to keep home and hearth together will be a 24-hour-a-day job and we'll end up with children who'll leave the home one day and not have the vaguest clue about how to handle household duties. Have the expectation that kids will do the jobs you've assigned them One of the things that can undermine the process of kids helping out around the house is a parent's expectation that they won't do it. Expect that they will do the jobs, check on their progress, and assign appropriate rewards and consequences to the job, and it's amazing how well kids will perform. Parents have to realign their minds that kids are fully capable -- and often willing -- to participate in the running of the household and the housekeeping that goes with it. As an example, if you asked your son to take out the trash before dinner, remove the videogame privilege until it's done. Yes, it is easier to just do it ourselves, but that's not practical and it sets a bad example, showing kids that in the real world, there's someone there to clean up after you. As anyone will tell you, the real world demands that you pick up after yourself. However, not all kids are ready for every household task. Training kids to clean properly also relies on giving them age-appropriate jobs around the house -- and not expecting perfection. That doesn't mean they should be allowed to do a sloppy job, either. As the Cleaning Editor of BellaOnline, I dig cleaning. That's why I'm the editor of that site. But, I don't expect my kids to have the same standards that I do. But, I expect them to be able to do an acceptable job appropriate to their age and abilities. When my kids do a poor job, I simply tell them the shirt needs to be refolded, for example, and have them correct the situation to the best of their abilities. The whole family pitches in when we need to go somewhere and have to clean in a hurry or when we need to do a thorough cleaning. Having kids clean the house teaches them responsibility, appreciation and care for their surroundings, and self-pride in a job well done. That's something every child should experience for themselves. Housekeeping Chores and Duties for Children Ages 3 to 5 * Help straighten a room * Help make their bed * Bring items from one room to another * Help set or set the table * Help clear or clear the table * Bring towels to the laundry * Swiffer * Gather trash Ages 6 to 10 * Sweep * Make their bed every day * Do dishes * Straighten and pick up * Load/unload dishwasher * Vacuum * Fold & put away laundry * Dust * Clean baseboards window sills * Take out trash Ages 11 to Until they're out of the house * Sweep, Vacuum * Make their bed every day * Straighten and pick up * Operate Washer/Dryer; do laundry * Clean bathrooms * Dust * Clean windows * Do dishes/load and unload dishwasher.
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