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Do you have a method for teaching your kids to be responsible? Are you frustrated with sloppiness, lack of effort, or bad attitudes?
I had four kids, one husband, a 3 story house, 749234985 hamsters, one especially mean iguana, and a conflicted pug who shed enough hair to stuff a pillow each week.
You’d better believe I divvied up the chores!
My kids are responsible young adults now, and when they return home from college, mama don’t do no laundry. Know why? Cause I taught them years before they left!
Here’s what worked for me, and if you’re consistent, it’ll work for you too!
1.) Give responsible jobs according to age
Little ones can help fold towels and put them away, wash dishes and put their clothes in drawers.
Older kids can rake leaves and run the sweeper.
Everyone should be responsible for their rooms – even a toddler can learn to pick up toys.
If you teach them to take care of their stuff from the time they’re small, habits are formed as they age. They get that they’re supposed to clean up after themselves.
2.) Don’t do for them what they can do for themselves
From the time they can pick up a toy, let them.
I use my grandson, the two-year-old Tiny Tornado, to run little errands like throwing away trash and wiping down cabinets. He loves it!
Granted, he doesn’t know he’s working…but that realization (and battle) will come later.
3.) Make lists
This was the shining star in up-keep of our house.
Each kid had a list. As they worked through it, they checked off tasks . Upon completion, they were free.
They liked this system, and so did I.
Because let’s face it – when you tell a kid to do 3 things, he’ll never make it past the first one.
They don’t have the capacity to remember what you said because truthfully, they don’t want to.
Take the time to write it down – it’ll save you headaches in the long run.
Also, they get tired of your nagging. Give it a rest.
4.) Crank it up
I worked alongside my kids when doling out lists. We accomplished chores together.
And we played the music loud.
Everyone got into it – dancing, mayhem, silliness, and we knocked it out.
Make it fun for your kids.
Guarantee you that kid can’t dust furniture without a smile on his face if you’re blasting Pharrell William’s Happy and busting a few moves with the broom.
Chores don’t have to be a dreaded disease that everyone hates.
Chores don’t have to be a dreaded disease everyone hates. Make them fun! Click To Tweet
5.) Lower expectations
When the kids got old enough to fold towels, I almost went into orbit every time they booby-trapped the linen closet.
Translated: Open closet + 6 towels cascading to floor = re-fold.
This wasn’t even done on purpose. But, it was done hastily.
Take the time to teach them how to do a job well. But by the same token, don’t get your panties in a wad.
The towel story was two-fold, so to speak. I had a certain way I liked them done: first in half, then thirds.
I’d get upset when the towels were folded differently, or they ended up lopsided.
Gearing up for a temper tantrum one day (mine), I gazed at said towels, suddenly remembering that a six-year-old folded them, along with her eight-year-old sister. I swallowed my pride, thanked the Lord for her earnest effort, and walked away.
That’s the day I realized it didn’t matter so much how it was done, as long as it got done – without a bad attitude.
This is an important point to remember, mom. Be careful not to crush your child’s spirit or give the impression that his work isn’t good enough.
I know I didn’t always succeed at this, and even now the perfectionist in me rears her ugly head.
Which brings me to the next point.
6.) Praise them for responsible efforts
A word of thanks goes a long way – they’re not slaves.
Point out their best work.
Mention if they go the extra mile.
Notice when they’re being responsible without an attitude.
7.) Be consistent
Ah, here’s the rub. This particular area of teaching kids to be responsible is especially painful for the parent.
Once you teach them how, be sure they stay at it, long after the “fun” (such as Tiny Tornado Trash Throwing) has worn off.
They’ll wear you down. They’ll argue, say it’s sister’s turn, and lock themselves in the bathroom after dinner, claiming diarrhea in order to get out of dish duty.
Consistency is the hardest part about the entire subject of teaching kids to be responsible, but it’s also the single key to success.
Consistency is the single key to success in teaching children responsibility. Click To Tweet
You know that verse about not being weary in well-doing or we shall reap if we faint not?
Sister, I’m a-reapin’.
Teaching responsibility is about being consistent in well-doing.
And someday, you’ll be a-reapin’ too – bless it now.
Start your kids young, implement age appropriate responsibilities, make lists, crank the music, instead of picking them apart – give praise, and be consistent!
Pretty soon, you’ll be lounging on the couch eating bon-bons while they make your dinner.
Yeah…never happening. You’re a mom, not a magician!
Can’t control your temper?
In Count to Nine, moms discover a Scripturally sound, methodical approach for taming the temper. Ruthie Gray, mother of four and grandparent of two, gently guides frazzled mothers of all ages toward God’s Word, His view on anger, and the nine steps to overcoming wrath.
In this ebook, you will learn
*The surprising reasons behind your anger
*The mind-blowing truth of God’s view on anger
*One eye-opening tactic for changing your reactions
*How the staggering power of unbelief can keep you from change
*How to triumph through one key attitude adjustment
*How to gain victory over a life-long stronghold
*And much, much more!
The author, Ruthie Gray, transparently shares her own motherhood struggles, instantly connecting with moms through her “been there” approach. Moms will find victory, new hope, and support through this encouraging method of actionable Scripture verses and Scripture prayers.
Dear mom, isn’t it time for you to Count to Nine?
Featured posts from last week’s Link up!
Each week I pick my top 3 posts from the previous week. So be sure to return because YOU may be given a shout-out (and wouldn’t you hate to miss that???)!
*NOTE: Be sure to include a link back to Tuesday Talk with your blog post in order to be featured. I know it’s easy to forget, but that’s what this is all about – sharing each other!
Both Jenny and I have fond memories of imagination, make-believe, and discovery. These ingredients are the highlight of childhood. But don’t take my word for it. All of the classic children’s stories agree. There is Tom Sawyer, Anne of Green Gables, The Chronicles of Narnia, and the more modern-day Harry Potter. In each of these books, the adventures begin when life is unplanned.
~Jed and Jen’s Coffee Shop Conversations, Do your kids have the secret ingredients of an awesome childhood? (So nostalgic!)
Our grumbling risks our own inheritance as well. Paul says when we resist grumbling “then you will shine among them like stars in the sky as you hold firmly to the word of life” (Philippians 2:15-16, NIV). Grace shines brightly in an outrage filled world. When we resist the temptation to indulge in grumbling’s temporary satisfaction, we can find genuine connection and work together to find real solutions.
~Leigh Powers from Faith n’ Friends, Let Your Words Shine – it’ll give your words pause.
It’s exactly what I need to hear when things aren’t going right. When I feel overwhelmed and burdened. Sadly it’s a road that’s very familiar to me. This is a road I travel often. I know each and every nook and cranny. And they know me well. I do too much and all of a sudden I am scurrying for more minutes.
~Marva from Sun Sparkle Shine, The One Unexpected Thing You Need Today (This one really resonates with me!)
Welcome to Tuesday Talk!
I’m excited to be hosting this link up with these wonderful ladies
each Tuesday at 8:00 AM EST!
This is a warm, inviting space to gain encouragement, ideas for crafts, DIY, and homemaking, or share your recent posts and show support for your fellow bloggers!
Please join me and let’s get to know each other!
Here are our lovely Tuesday Talk hosts!
Beth at Our Pretty Little Girls | Pinterest | Facebook | Instagram
Becky at BYBMG | Pinterest | Facebook | Instagram
Jessica at Sweet Little Ones | Pinterest | Facebook | Instagram
Emily at Raising Barnes | Pinterest | Instagram
Stephanie at Wife Mommy Me | Pinterest | Facebook | Instagram
Stasia at Our Life on a Budget | Pinterest | Facebook | Instagram
Sarah at Abiding In Grace | Pinterest | Facebook | Instagram
Ruthie at Rear. Release. Regroup. | Pinterest | Facebook | Instagram
Laura at Life Is Beautiful | Pinterest | Facebook | Instagram
Christina at Waltzing In Beauty | Pinterest | Instagram
Michelle at Grammie Time | Pinterest | Instagram
Tina at Go Big or Go Home | Pinterest | Facebook | Instagram
Whitney at Polka Dotty Place | Pinterest | Facebook | Instagram
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Stefanie (@LexieLooDylan2) says
This is such a great post! I feel like we have a lot in common when it comes to parenting. My 4 kids keep me busy, but even my 2 year old (AKA the Toddler Tornado), who has Down syndrome, knows he has to help clean up his mess. It’s never too early to start! Have a great week!
I loved having four! It turned out extremely well to have an even number. 😉 So you have a Toddler Tornado too huh? You are doing something right over there in that household! Keep them in line, sarge, you’ll never regret it!
So glad you enjoyed and shared a bit of yourself!
Marva | sunSPARKLEshine says
Hi Ruthie, I’m late to the party but was pleased to see my post featured. Thank you, my friend. Glad I’m not the only one who needs to sit at Jesus’ feet! Thanks too for continuing to share your motherly wisdom so freely — I just keep soaking it up. 🙂
Marva, you have lots of wisdom to share too! I’ve been loving your posts. You know how to put things simply and succinctly and that’s an art!!! You’re very welcome. And happy to share from my experience. Mothering is my passion!
Jessica Sweet Little Ones says
This series has been amazing so far! Every Tuesday, I’m looking forward to reading your post! I especially love #2 and #4. We always turn on the Disney music when we’re working…literally “whistle while you work”! 🙂 Thankfully, my oldest is a natural “helper” so she sets a good example for her little brothers. The rest of your list is great food for thought for me for when my kids get older. Thanks as always, Ruthie! -Jessica, Sweet Little Ones
Jessica, you do my heart good! I think you must be an amazing mama. Your kids are so lucky! Keep doing what you’re doing because it’ll pay off! 🙂