Saturday, October 28, 2006

Getting Kids to Help Out Around the House

I often wonder if pioneer women had trouble getting their children to do chores. After all, surely children of old had more responsibilities than today’s children. Farm animals had to be cared for; water needed hauling; wood awaited chopping; crops had to be harvested. Today’s children can’t even begin to comprehend the work performed by pioneer children. So if their workload is lighter in today’s times, why do children give us such a hard time about doing it?

I don’t really know the answer, but I do know it’s normal behavior. I remember giving my own parents fits when I stalled and procrastinated about doing my chores. Thursday night was housecleaning night, and I would do anything to get out of it—make other plans, plead illness, express a sudden interest in homework. I swore I’d never put my own children through such an ordeal. But when I grew up, of course, I discovered that housework couldn’t be put aside. It needed participation by all members of the family if it was going to get done.

Sometimes it’s easier to do the chores myself rather than listen to the kids complain or do the job poorly. But I know this isn’t good for them in the long run. I’ve tried chore charts, allowance, special treats—anything to motivate the children to help out. These methods usually help for a short period of time, but then the complaining begins anew.

I have faith that, one day, God will show my children the same thing that He showed me when I grew up and had a house of my own: Housecleaning might not be fun, but it is necessary for every family’s health and well-being.

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