After posting quite a few of my "Trenches" columns, I’m realizing that they probably won’t ever make it into a book. So enjoy them for what they are. Instead, I’m hoping to use the title "I’m Not Your Slave – I’m Your Mother" to possibly write about how to get kids helping out around the home. I’m even thinking that this one might have a decidedly LDS slant. We’ll see.
In the meantime, I loved our Relief Society lesson yesterday! It was from the President Spencer W. Kimball manual – chapter 11 on provident living. It made such an impression on me that I read the following paragraph to my kids when we got home from church:
We want you parents to create work for your children. Insist on them learning their lessons in school. Do not let them play all the time. There is a time for play, there is a time for work, and there is a time to study. Be sure your children grow up like you know they ought to grow up.
I’m afraid I didn’t make it all the way through reading that paragraph to the kids without a little giggle of glee after the first three sentences. Whee!
"See," I told the kids, "we’re doing just what we’re supposed to be doing." Their response?
"We know. Dad read us that same passage too."
Now, like any other principle of spirituality, it’s the actual DOING that’s hard. So, if you’re unconvinced that having your kids help out is really worth it, or if you’d like ideas on age-appropriate tasks, job charts, reward systems – you name it – I’ve tried it. I wish that my technology arrangement here at home were better, then I’d simply have a website with Adobe files you could download and print out. (Kid Kash, charts, wheels, tokens, etc.) Until we get our new computer set up, I guess we can just do things the old-fashioned way. You can e-mail me with your needs, and I’ll e-mail you some ideas and encouragement.
In fact, I think that encouragement is just what all parents need when starting to have their kids help out. ‘Cause kids will complain. And complain. And complain. (That’s why we call our place Belly Acre Farm – because of all the bellyaching that goes on.) But don’t give up or give in.
Sure, your kids will act put out, but they will actually be building their self esteem. The more tasks they’re capable of doing on their own, the better they’ll feel about themselves. And the reverse is true. If you’re currently doing everything for your kids – especially little things they could be doing themselves – you’re sending them the message that they’re not capable, or that you don’t think they’re able to do things.
Perhaps you feel that childhood should be for relaxing and playing. I think so too! Many hands make light work. Once you’ve taught your children how to help out with the jobs around the house, EVERYONE will have more time for relaxing and playing – especially you. And kids love to spend time playing with their mothers!