We know that we should involve our kids in doing chores but really sometimes it’s just easier to do it ourselves. But it is important and particularly so when our kids are teens. At that point it’s time for them to be developing life skills so they can care for themselves when they are out on their own.
Chores Important for Teens
Chores give our kids a role in the running of the family and teach them that running a household requires the work and cooperation of all family members. Today we’re going to look at our teens because for them chores have an additional and essential role to play. Chores teach kids how to look after themselves. Teens are working toward increasing independence and it’s pretty hard to be independent if you haven’t a clue how to collect and take out the garbage, run a washing machine or cook dinner. At this point you need to look at the chores your kids do, think about the skills they will need when they move out and assess the gaps. Then develop a plan to expand the range of chores they do around the house. I know they have a busy schedule but they need to learn how to care for themselves. Fitting household chores into a busy life is an essential skill these days. On the other hand, be realistic. Rotate chores so your child is learning all that he needs to know without becoming a slave to the housework. If you have been holding regular family meetings, this is the best place to develop a weekly schedule that includes chores for the week. With teens it’s time to have a mix of daily chores like dishes and picking up in the living room, weekly chores like laundry and taking out the garbage, and occasional special tasks like painting the fence.
There are jobs that you should hand over to your teen one at a time. And all jobs need to be taught to both boys and girls
• Laundry: Fourteen year-old Jack needs to learn how the dirty clothing that he tosses in his hamper magically turns up clean, and if necessary, ironed in his closet.
• Cooking: One evening a week it’s your teen’s turn to cook dinner for the family. That includes menu planning, more than one dish (so a boxed macaroni and cheese just doesn’t cut it) and bringing the meal hot and nutritious to the table.
• Yard Work: It’s time to introduce your child to the lawn mower, rakes and snow shovel. Teach her not only how to do the needed yard work, but also how to care for and maintain the tools and equipment.
• Housework: Until now your kids may have had to load the dishwasher or vacuum the living room. It’s time for them to start to understand the big picture. Now, I’m not suggesting that they suddenly need to start cleaning the whole house on a regular basis. But they do need to know how.
• Repairs: Involve your kids when doing household repairs and that includes everything from changing a light bulb to dry walling the new addition. At the very least basic tools like screwdrivers, hammers and plungers should be familiar to them.
Now let’s not kid ourselves, Our teens are not going to rise to these challenges with pleasure and excitement, all the while thanking us for giving them the opportunity to gain these lifelong skills. So first we need to make sure they know what they are doing. No matter how simple the task they need to learn how to do it and it’s always a neat idea to work with your kids. With teens this is particularly true for the bigger jobs. They also will need reminding and supervising. Doing chores just isn’t the most important thing on their radar screen so you will likely need to get involved in making it happen. A deadline helps: this needs to be done by dinner time Saturday, or the garbage is picked up first thing Tuesday morning so you need to get it out before bedtime on Monday.
Our goal is to not only make sure our kids have the skills they need to get on with their lives but that they develop some time management skills at the same time.
When they are out on their own you can relax knowing that they have the basic skills they need to ensure that they are fed and clothed without your help.
Sarah is shy, Jared is bossy and Pat is Easy-Going. What do we need to know about different temperaments?
One thing we learn about kids is that every child is unique and different. My mini guide e-book, Vive la Différence: Raising Children with Different Temperaments addresses some of the temperaments we see in our kids.
I looked at my two children who are as different as night and day. Then I consider my siblings and we are a textbook example of different.
But, now I have three grandchildren, all the same age and the differences from their births has been striking.
The result is the e-parenting mini guide, Vive la Différence: Raising Children with Different Temperaments. The guide is available on my website.
How Can I Bring Kathy to My Community?
I offer keynotes and workshops, (http://www.parentingtoday.ca/workshopskeynotes/) have written books and have ongoing newspaper columns, books, blogs and newsletters.
And, no matter what the actual topic, they all share a basic value that I call:
P — is a parenting plan
U — is unconditional love
R — is respect for your child as he is right now
E — is encouragement
These make up the framework of any resources that will come from Parenting Today. These four pillars are the essential ingredients for raising healthy children who will develop into capable young men and women.