Summer is coming and it’s time to switch gears from academics to other learning opportunities for kids. What aren’t they getting during the year? How can I use this time to encourage their passions and round out their development? (or, maybe it’s more like “Isn’t May over yet? I can’t wait to stop making their lunches every morning!”)
The most important thing summer provides kids, (besides a more relaxed, happy Mommy), is outdoor, open-ended, self-initiated playtime. This is so key to their creativity and sense of self and well-being with life. But if they are spending more time on-line than off, have them do some chores. Chores are a great way to build competency, confidence, a sense of contribution, life and leadership skills.
During the school year, kids are asked to focus on future, intangible results while sitting still, indoors. Chores offer a great solution. Besides lightening our workload, they give kids real-life skills where they immediately see the results of their efforts. Not only are the results tangible, they require physical exertion and impact their lives right now (something hard to obtain at school). Chores, when done right, can teach kids how to accomplish tasks, how to motivate themselves, how to make things easier or more fun, that there are many ways to express their creativity and to celebrate their effort and achievement.
But here’s the problem: What do you think of when you hear the word “CHORES”?
Hard work, boring, obligatory, tedious, a source of arguments, difficult? The word itself means “a hard or unpleasant task”.
The way WE feel about chores has a direct impact on what our kids gain from the experience.
If we turn into mean-drill-sergeant-mommy, thinking “they should just do what I tell them.” our kids will learn to avoid us AND the chores.
If we think, “It’s easier to just do it myself”, we will raise incompetent kids who wait for others to take care of them.
If we see chores as an opportunity to teach leadership skills that will benefit kids throughout their lives, then we will approach it in a positive way that sets kids up for success.
Think about someone you admire, someone whose example you would follow. What adjectives would you use to describe them? Smart? Trustworthy? Passionate? Confident? Determined? Efficient? Is that how you approach chores with your kids? If so, you’ve got it covered so clean on, my friend.
If you are like the rest of us, your kids either run and hide as soon as you start cleaning to avoid the grumpy commander, or they sit in the same room, barely lifting their feet as you vacuum under them, asking for a snack, never noticing that you are doing all the work.
My next blog will cover the nitty-gritty of creating a successful chore chart. For today, notice your thought that prevents you from successful delegation and imagine what it would look like to delegate from a place of leadership? What would you need to believe in order to….
-teach your kids important life skills?
-trust them to complete the job in a certain time frame?
-allow them to do it their way?
-prepare for imperfection and allow them to make mistakes?
-be enthusiastic about their efforts and accomplishments?
If you wanted to feel efficient, confident, and passionate about chores, what thoughts would be helpful to think?
“I can teach my kids the life skill of task management.”
“I can find a way to make this fun.”
“I like having a clean and efficient home.”
“I’m the most qualified person to teach this to my kids.”
“Teaching my kids that they have the ability to impact their environment is one of the most powerful things I can teach them.”
“It’s good for kids to feel needed by their community.”
“This is a worthwhile place to spend my time and energy.”
“I have a good plan in place, I am prepared for imperfection and resistance.”
“I want my kids to know that what they do matters.”
Show your kids that bossing people around or complaining is not how to get things done. Good leadership always starts with our beliefs and the energy we bring to the task. We can create passion, determination and the results we want, by the thoughts we choose to think. Pick one, and repeat it ten times a day until my next blog. Notice how calm and positive your energy is, how solution oriented you become, and the ideas that can now pop into your mind. This is you, setting yourself up for success.