Teaching Kids to Finish What YOU Started | Giftie Etcetera: Teaching Kids to Finish What YOU Started

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Teaching Kids to Finish What YOU Started

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I often make my kids finish my chores.

Now, now, don't get all upset. I'm doing it FOR THEM!

(Okay, mostly for them. :) But contributing to the family really does leave more time for us to spend together enjoying each others' company.)

parenting, garden, household, chores

My kids have their regular chores, like doing the dishes each night or sweeping the kitchen floor. They are also in charge of picking up their own dinner plates after meals, cleaning their rooms, and picking up toys.

In addition, they earn electronics time by doing extra chores, like cleaning the bathroom, if they want to. Since e-time is pretty limited around here, they want to!

Recently, I was creating a little outdoor garden and had the kids help. I did the planting, but they brought each plant to me. I purchased some little white picket fences and let them install them by gently pressing them into the ground. Finally, they had to water the plants.

They treated this chore much more enthusiastically from most of the chores that they do on a regular basis. I assumed, at first, that it was because it was a garden and more exciting.

But I noticed something else.

It wasn't just the garden.

It was that they saw mom doing chores. It was that they did the finishing touches, like the fences and the watering, so they felt proud and accomplished.

Because I did the hard part, they did not get stressed out. And because they helped me, it was easier to get it done and I did not get stressed out.

I've moved this practice into other parts of my housekeeping.

Last week, I sorted and cleaned out under the bathroom sink. I threw away a lot of stuff, but not in the garbage. Instead, I tossed it onto the floor. Once I was done, I had my six year old put the trash in the garbage can and had my nine year old reload the area under the cabinet neatly.

Neither assigned chore took more than 2 minutes.

But the cabinet looked amazing, I didn't get worn out and leave the chore unfinished, and the kids even commented on how nice it was once the areas was decluttered and organized.

They are now working on little areas in their own rooms, decluttering based on what they learned from mom.

Being a parent is about teaching. Having your kids finish the little details of any chore teaches them teamwork, organization, and a sense of justice since everyone contributed.

Other ideas for chores that kids can finish:

*storing spices and condiments back into the cabinets while you finish cooking/serving dinner

*putting away the socks in sock drawers after you finish folding and pairing them

*tossing the envelopes and junk mail after you process incoming paperwork

*bringing towels used for cleaning into the hamper

*sorting the silverware once you've unloaded the rest of the dishwasher

*bringing reusable grocery bags back to the trunk of your car after you unload the groceries

(Note: My nine year old loves that chore the most because he gets to play with the "unlock" function on my car key.)

I won't pretend that this technique saves time at first. Even for simple chores, you still have to teach kids how to accomplish them. But the technique will pay off when your kids realize the value of finishing whatever you start.


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Anonymous said...

When I was a child (a long time ago) my mother started each of us kids with small tasks to do while she did the daily cleaning. In time, we learned how to do more things. Because we needed to learn how to do these things, she would leave things unfinished and ask us to finish them up. We had already learned the individual steps, so we needed to learn how the steps went together for completing the job. It worked! We definitely had more time to be together. The biggest advantage was that things got done and left us with more time for homework and study as we got older.

I think doing this is essential in order to kids to grow into adults who can take care of themselves and their families when they have them.

Becky Pink said...

These are such great ideas, thank you! I get my 4 year old to pair up socks and she's now teaching my 2 year old, but I haven't got as far as getting them to put them away - that will be my next step! They love watering plants too, but think it's a game rather than a chore. I like the idea of rewarding them with screen time to give them an incentive, I think I will try that too! Thanks, Becky x linking up from #featurefridays

Melanie said...

I haven't really figured out the ideal way to get my 5 year old involved in chores, so I appreciated a different point of view. I try to get her to put her own things away, and do small things like bringing me the dirty dishes, sorting socks, etc, but I like the idea of getting her to finish chores that I've started. A great way to help her enjoy a job well done. Thanks for linking this up at the Learning Kid Link-up.

Val said...

Great ideas on how to teach our children little things that can help both them and us. Thanks for linking up the Country Fair Blog Party!

Unknown said...

Really great idea! I need to get my kids to help me clean out their drawers!

Hannah said...

They are great idea's. I am starting to get my 3yr old more involved. He loves to pair socks and pass them to me to ball them up. I like the idea of doing more chores together as its great for them to learn by example. Thanks for linking up with #featurefridays

Unknown said...

A cool thing about teaching your kids with this method is that you can add a little more to it each time, and since they are watching how you are doing it each time, the actually "teaching" will be decreased. Great ideas you have shared! I still remember my brother calling me on my birthday when my daughter was 7 and asking what I was doing; I told him I was teaching her how to clean the bathroom. He laughed and said next year she could do it for me on my birthday! :)

Swapna said...

Great Ideas! My 3.5 y.o. loves helping out!

Sandy Sandmeyer said...

This is a great way to teach your children to keep their own home someday or to take on extra responsibility when you might not be able to do it. Thanks for sharing your post at the #AnythingGoes Link Party.