Teaching Kids Responsibility (while making your life easier!)

Our family has been extremely busy. Hubby and I are self-employed and still in the building phase of our businesses. That means a lot of extra hours.  Add that to a super fun summer bucket list begging to be used, and we don’t have much time (or energy) for family chores. We’ve been giving the kids more and more responsibility in our daily chores. Of course, teaching the kids responsibility is awesome, but it also helps us out a ton. (Win win!)
3 tips for teaching kids responsibility (while making your life easier.... shhh!)

Teaching Kids Responsibility by Including Them in the Process

Problem #1: Folding laundry was a four-step process. Laundry is one of my least favorite things to do. Handing over part of that chore was first on my list. Our washer and dryer are downstairs and our rooms are upstairs. Folding laundry used to be a four-step process for me (no wonder I dreaded it). I would wash and fold the laundry downstairs. Then put it in the laundry basket and then take it upstairs. After laying all the folded clothes on the bed I would put everyone’s clothes away. You know when you have a light bulb moment and suddenly the solution seems so clear? That’s what happened here. Why was I moving the folded laundry three times?

Solution: Cut the process in half (and give away part of the work). Our new laundry process is a dream and almost gets me excited about laundry day. I start by sorting, washing and folding. (I will give away more of the responsibility as the kids get older, but for now this works). When I take a load of laundry out of the dryer I take it straight upstairs. I fold the clothes and place them in piles on my bed. After all the laundry is done (usually at the end of the day) everyone puts their own clothes away. Even Hubby!

What the kids are learning: The kids are getting two great lessons here: that team work makes the job easier and how to organize their drawers.

Problem #2: The kids could not reach their dishes.  M and M can prepare some of their meals (and almost all of their snacks) which helps me out a lot. The way our cabinets were stacked all the kids dishes were stacked out of reach. Even when they did prepare something I had to be there to grab stuff for them.

Solution: Move the dishes. This solution was easy and obvious. All of the kids’ plates, bowls and cups are now in the bottom shelves. YAY!

What the kids are learning: This is my favorite change. Hubby loves to cook and experiment in the kitchen. Allowing Big M freedom to get creative with scrambled eggs all on his own is going to give him confidence in the kitchen. Knowing how to cook is a life skill everyone needs!

Problem #3: Nagging Mom. Day one of summer break I gave the kids a small list of chores. They whined, complained and dragged their feet. I nagged, complained and threatened. AHHH! Not my finest moment. I quickly decided that this would not be the way our summer would go.

Solution: Pass the responsibility of getting it done… to the ones who need to get it done. After rounding up their clipboards, a piece of paper, some colored pencils and clothespins, I made a to-do list for each kid. It was simple. A list of three things that needed to be done followed by a list of three things I knew they wanted to do. I told them both that once the three top things were done, they were free to do the three bottom things.

What the kids are learning: By allowing the kids to be in charge of their chores they take on the responsibility of when and how it gets done. Time management is a great skill to have! These simple tricks are making my life SO much easier and giving the kids a little lesson in responsibility.

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Comments

  1. says

    I am all about letting the kids chip in on chores that they can do themselves. Snack time has been much easier now that my kiddo can get most of his snacks himself. He also dresses himself which is a big time saver (I mean, faster if I do it but at least I get to do something else while he dresses himself, even if it’s super slow). Oh and no need to enter me in your contest; I just wanted to chime in on the discussion :)
    Nina recently posted..The Surprising Factor that Gives You Work-Life Balance

  2. says

    I try to have dinner ready before we call the kids to the table, and get the bath ready before I tell them it’s time for one- doing things ahead of time helps our family a lot!

    chambanachik(at)gmail(dot)com
    Erika recently posted..The Cherry Pie

  3. Natalie says

    I try to get my nephew more involved in cooking dinner and teach him to clean up after himself and wash the dishes afterward.

  4. Brooke says

    I have a “Job List” printed up on the fridge for my eldest who is 4. Each day he goes through the list, feed the dog, help put laundry in or out, water plants, pick up room, summer reading, pick up toys at end of day, help with cook dinner and I also leave Clorox wipes next to his toilet for any “spills” he may have. He enjoys checking off the jobs one by one and at the end of a 7 day week he gets 5 cents for every task completed. Each one helps a ton with having three small kidddos.

  5. Wanda McHenry says

    I actually don’t have a care in the world. I don’t work and retired early and my day is care-free, simple and our lives are happy.

  6. Susan Smith says

    I make a lot of lists of the things that I need to get done during the day so I keep organized and ask for help from my family if I need it.

  7. amy pugmire says

    I have the kids do chores and clean the night before. I have them line up clothes and anything they will need for the next day if we have plans.

  8. D Schmidt says

    We plan ahead a lot and try to prepare for everything (as best we can) For example, I take a spare change of clothes for my children for the beach, lots of snacks and an emergency first aid kit.

  9. courtney b says

    i take lots of medicine! lol i know that sounds horrible but sometimes you need it when you have a super stressful life…which I totally do working full time with lots of kids running around!

  10. Linda says

    I take advantage of organizational tools and like to make lists to help me plan out my day and tackle each thing in an organized, methodical manner so I am not as overwhelmed by the often, numerous tasks I need to do daily. My family also helps out with every day chores like laundry, cleaning and making meals so it’s not all on me.

  11. Ellie W says

    I keep a chore chart and the amount of my boys’ weekly allowance depends on what chores they complete and how well they did them.

  12. says

    “Move the dishes!” Amen. Every time I’ve moved houses, my mother — who had four kids in six years and we moved many a time — would set up my kitchen for maximum self-service and group-help by the kids. The hours and glassware this has saved me!

  13. Gina M says

    My tip is to have chores that are designated to my son, so he knows what he needs to do, and I don’t have to worry about those things in particular.

  14. shelly peterson says

    I try to get things ready the night before so there is less to do in the mornings. I have my son pick his clothes out and have them ready. This helps a lot.

    cshell090869 at aol dot com

  15. anna pry says

  16. anna pry says

  17. Erica Best says

    i try get my bf to cook dinner with sometime so night when i need a break i let him cook so i know what he is doing

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