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Parenting Tip #11 The Importance of Our Kids Having Responsibilities

I hate the word chores. It sounds negative & lets be honest can be a source of frustration for kids & parents. I prefer the word responsibilities to chores. It is one of the things that we as parents need to teach our children, how to manage our responsibilities & in doing so we Are teaching them important life skills.  It is important to remember their age & help them understand that everyone in the family contributes. Also, when our kids participate in household responsibilities, it gives us an opportunity to praise & at times reward them for their hardwork.  I will discuss praise, rewards, & consequences in a later blog.

Some simple responsibility suggestions:

Have your toddler help you pick up their toys. Let's be honest most kids these days have a ton of toys that are scattered everywhere in the house. I know it easier to just clean up yourself & can be time consuming to have your toddler help you pick up their toys. It is challenging to work on our patience as parents but with the extra time, it can be well worth it as they get older. It is important to start teaching our kids when they are young that they are responsible for their belongings. 

Teach them how to make their bed & have them make their bed in the morning. Growing up with a single mom, my mom really did everything. That being said, she taught us how to make our bed & we were expected to make it every morning. It wasn't perfect but the point was, we were responsible for our room which meant we made our bed & picked up our toys.

Have your kids help you set & clear the table. One of the things my husband always had the kids do was to help set the dinner table & after dinner we all helped clear. Sometimes the kids would load the dishwasher & other times they helped put dishes away.  We would show the kids how to set the table & have them do it. It's not about perfectly setting the table, it is about contributing. We wanted to include the kids in helping with the meal we prepared. One time my stepson who about 8 years old, was helping put the glasses on the table. He accidentally dropped it & the glass shattered. He had this panicked, scared look on his face. My husband scoped him up & asked him if he was ok while I tried to lessen the tension by cheering "broken glass". We cleaned up & proceed with dinner. We wanted all 3 kids to know that it is ok to break a glass. It was an accident & we were not mad about that. We were happy that they were helping.

Teach your kids how to do their laundry. Growing up & living in low income housing, the laundry mat at our apartment complex was a hot commodity when it opened Saturdays & Sundays.  My sister & I were often tasked with running the laundry down to the laundry mat to save a washing machine. My mom would join us & teach us how to use the washing machine. We also would have the timer set so we could run down & put our clothes in the dryer. My sister & I were responsible for putting our clothes away. With my step-kids, we started with getting the their own laundry basket to put their dirty clothes in. When we would do laundry, we asked them to bring their laundry baskets to us & we would show them how to use the washing machine. We started with small steps that we could build on.

Have your kids cook with you. Teaching your kids to help you cook can be a very fun experience. Looking up recipes, teaching them how to measure ingredients & making your favorite foods. Some of my favorite moments with my husband & step-kids is cooking in the kitchen. I have lots of pictures of the kids cooking with us. My stepdaughter & her dad made meatloaf from scratch & my stepsons, their friend & my husband made homemade cinnamon rolls. My stepdaughter helped me make my grandmother's meatballs. By including the kids in cooking with us, we bonded, taught them kitchen safety & overall had fun. I do suggest doing this when you have plenty of time & are not rushing to get to school or work.

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