Wednesday, August 27, 2008

...Cleaning? Use your kids!

Today's topic is motivating you into making your kids help you clean. There is a reason they call me "coachmom". I love sports, especially football and baseball. My kids have gotten accustomed to me speaking to them in sports metaphors. Hopefully, you will too!

Your family is a team. God created your family to work together as a cohesive unit! If one person is not playing their position, the team is not going to be victorious. Your children need to be taught this mindset. Children learn through repetition or "practice". Therefore, as teacher or "coach", you are going to have to be consistent. Send them out onto the field and if they do not perform the drill properly, you will have to go out there and demonstrate it for them and let them try again until they get it right. This takes patience and perseverance on your part. In the end, it will be worth it.

"That's great," you say, "but how do I make this happen?"

First, you start with daily chores. Even a three year old can put spoons into a dishwasher, or put napkins on the table for dinner. Then you inspect their job, correcting gently where correction is needed, and praising in both cases. Find something to praise about the job in either case. Correct first, then praise something. I know this sounds like a very "modern" philosophy but don't you want to work harder when you feel appreciated?

Move up to weekly chores, involving them in chores that you are not in the room for. Once again, inspect, correct, praise. Send them back to perform a chore again until it is done properly. Sooner or later, they will get the picture. Do NOT redo the chore for them. They need to learn that it does not affect you one way or the other if they spend 30 minutes or 3 hours doing that chore, so they may as well get it done right the first time. So only do this training method on a day where you were planning on staying home all day cleaning.

Once your children are trained to do daily and weekly chores, then they are ready to be involved in the quarterly chores! This will not happen overnight. And yes, my children still drive me crazy at times. They have to be retrained from time to time, when I was not consistent about my inspections. But I have heard from many people that my children are well trained in the chore arena. (Just don't tell them that!)

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