In the last few weeks I’ve been thinking about the way I’m raising my kids. My girls are 6 years, 4 years and 2 years old respectively. One of my goals as a parent is to raise my girls to be independent. It should be every parent’s goal. But sometimes I wrestle with giving up control and wanting to do certain chores or ALL of the chores, my way. I know I can do them faster and better, but this attitude defeats the purpose of raising independent children.
I read a lot of parenting blogs. I’m a blogger myself and I like reading how other parents raise their children. But one particular post that caught my attention recently was raising our kids to be independent – so they rely less on you, and depend more on themselves. It’s teaching them necessary skills for when they are older.
I like this. I like the thought of having girls that are independent. I like the thought of my name being called less during the day.
But it’s not easy to do. You see I like control and I like to do things my way. I can do it a lot quicker and the faster a job can get done, the sooner we can relax and play.
Yet, this isn’t doing my girls any favours by teaching them how to be independent.
So I thought I’d share some things that I’m adopting, to teach my girls independence, while also letting go of the control. It’s a work in progress. But parenting and changing our ways always is.
Teaching Independence to my Six Year Old
This year, I’ve noticed my eldest daughter wanting to help me more around the house. I’ve noticed she is motivated by few things. And I think this is important to recognize when getting older children to help. What is their motivation? My daughter genuinely wants to help because she wants to please me. Sometimes it’s also because she wants to work towards getting something like Tuckshop or Book Club.
I’ve proactively told my eldest that jobs are part of our daily routine and there isn’t always a treat in the end. The treat can be the feeling of accomplishment by looking at a neat room or seeing a clean sink because the dishes have been washed and put away. Its important kids understand not all jobs should be done for a reward. They are part of life.
Here are a list of chores that I expect my six year old to do each day.
Six Year Old’s Chores
1. Make her bed every morning.
2. Tidy her room each afternoon
3. Sort her clothes drawers and keep the clothes in tidy piles
4. Place dirty washing in her dirty clothes basket
5. Drying up after I’ve washed up
6. Fold blankets and placing them in the basket after being used
7. Setting the table for dinner
8. Putting toys or hair clips away when left on the kitchen bench
9. Placing food packets in the bin.
10. Taking used plates and cutlery to the sink.
11. Filling the toilet roll holder with toilet rolls
12. Putting folded clothes away into drawers.
13. Pack school bag
14. Walking to classroom after being dropped at school.
Four Year Old’s Chores
1. Make her bed every morning
2. Tidying her room
3. Placing dirty clothes in dirty clothes basket
4. Helping with the drying up
5. Putting lights on when the afternoon turns dark
6. Putting toys and hair clips away
7. Pack school bag
8. Put blankets away in living room
Two Year Old’s Chores
This is a work in progress, but she has started to help drying up when her sisters are involved, because she doesn’t want to miss out. I get more ‘no’s’ from this one when I ask her to pack up. I find this age the most difficult to deal with because of their defiance and testing the boundaries. We’re still yet to toilet train and learn how to make her bed. We will get there eventually.
My list is by no means what I think each age group should be doing, but simply a check list of what we are currently doing. I know I can add some more chores as we progress through the year. Some of these could be
1. Dusting the coffee table and TV Cabinet
2. Watering plants
3. Stacking Dishwasher
4. Packing snacks for own lunch
5. Sweeping the floor
6. Wiping the floor with a wet wipe floor swifter
7. Drying water around the vanity and bath after use
8. Rinsing vanity basin after brushing teeth
9. Taking recycling rubbish to recycling bin
10. Cleaning windows
It’s my hope to raise girls that understand chores are part of life and they make life easier once they’re complete. Having them around to watch how certain chores are done can also build their confidence in wanting to give that chore a go themselves.
While part of me wants my girls to remain young and I sometimes don’t mind doing what needs to be done to keep our household somewhat tidy and organised, I also want my girls to get involved in the running of the household too. It’s beneficial for them and it takes more off my plate.