It's the time of year when baseball teams are in Spring Training so that they're ready for the big season. Your kids are part of the home team and they need spring training too. This weekend take some time to train them on jobs around the house they can do. Why would you want to do that? Well here are some vivid reasons:
- You can use the Spring Training analogy to get them excited.
- Young kids just want to be with you and don't see folding dish towels or wash clothes as a job so long as they can do it with you. This develops good habits when it's still fun.
- You support their family with the work you do, there is no reason for you to carry so much of the load. Training your team to participate helps lighten your load, prepare your kids to be independent and gives you time to do more fun things together
- Tasks can be brief but still make a difference. Just as using 10 minutes before leaving for tennis by writing a thank you note gets it done, gives us a sense of doing the right thing, and fills otherwise hang time giving kids a few small tasks to do every day adds up.
Sandra Felton, author of Neat Mom, Messie Kids has a comprehensive list of what kids can do at what ages. Here is a sampling that might surprise you:
Ages 2 or 3
- Feed and water pets
- Set the table
- Pick up toys
Ages 4 to 6
- Help make beds
- Measure soap and start the dishwasher
- Empty dishwasher ans stack dished on the counter
Ages 7 to 10
- Fold laundry & put it away
- Read and follow simple recipes
- Help change bed sheets
Ages 11 to 15
- Plan a menu
- Cook simple meals
- Clean closet & drawers
- Clean bathroom
A well-trained sixteen+ year old should be able to manage the whole household. They're not far from getting a job or going off to college and they will need all the skills you have when they fly out of your nest.
Too often parents don't see how advanced and capable their kids are. This is because they see them constantly and/or because the parents will feel unneeded if the kids become independent. Ask one of your friends what they think your kids can do. Push them, stretch them, and see what they can do yourself this weekend. Maybe your kid responds to a challenge, "I'm not sure you can wash the whole car." Perhaps your child responds to the pep talk, "We're all part of the team, let's identify a short list of things you can do to help run this household – one item per day." Perhaps your child responds to something else. Share it with us by commenting below.