Here's a wee peek from my soon-to-be published book. I would GREATLY appreciate any feedback! Thank you!!
WORK WITH YOUR CHILDREN
Having your children work alongside you slows you down and often makes more work – but it's often like a game for a small child! The long-term benefits of doing this are major and something that you can lose sight of during the early years.
I like having special index cards (you can either write or draw quick pictures) showing jobs that small children can do by themselves that you have lead them through step-by-step quite a few times: i.e., tidy the shoe cupboard, clean the door handles etc.
Add to the cards as you teach new jobs. Some children love the cards, others might like a list on a clipboard with a pencil they can use to tick items off, or a little notebook.
Please remember that we all need three things to complete a job correctly and well:
- The knowledge of how to do a job
- The correct tools for the job
- A good attitude!
Please tell your child this gently and often so they can be confident that if they lack any of the above they can ask you for help. Here's a quick rundown on my thoughts on those three points:
KNOWLEDGE OF HOW TO DO A JOB
You can make it a whole lot easier for your child if YOU work out how to do a job properly for a start! Do you want your child to take responsibility for emptying the kitchen rubbish each day? Do it yourself a few times noting what makes it easier or harder. Are the replacement rubbish bags in a jumble in a drawer or are they each to reach? Is the lid of the rubbish bin outside hard to take off? Can you reach the bin easily? Go through step by step YOURSELF before taking your child through the steps. You can then be more confident when they come to ask you a question about the job.
THE CORRECT TOOLS FOR A JOB
Once again go through the job yourself with a mind to WHAT you use that is efficient and makes the job easier and more pleasant. Have a bucket of tools that the child is allowed to use i.e., a toothbrush to clean in the corners of the shower, a squeegie to dry the walls round the bath. Think about whether you want to use all natural cleaners (HIGHLY suggested!) or a spray bottle of something from the supermarket?
“Correct Tools” comes down to baskets and boxes to put things in also. When you're doing a major tidy-up in the whole house put a box outside each bedroom/cupboard door in the hallway. As you pick things up from around the house put them into the box of the room/cupboard they belong in. This saves having to actually enter the room, and find a place to put the item. Start in the kitchen, removing items that should be in another room, then go to the lounge and move down the hall from there. If you run out of time to complete the cleanup then you can just move the full box into the right room and leave it there for another day.
The “tools” for this job are simple enough – a box for each room – but without the boxes the job is much harder!
A GOOD ATTITUDE
If a child is really struggling with their attitude towards work I suggest praying about it because if a child (or an adult) has to find a good attitude from “within” when they're not asking God for help then they're possibly going to have a real uphill struggle finding one!
Check that your expectations are realistic and pleasantly work alongside your child as much as possible. This goes a long way towards a good attitude from children.
Although many times it may seem easier, quicker and involve less conflict for you to do the job yourself, in the long-run it creates bad feeling, cheats your child of a sense of belonging in the family, a sense of purpose and also stops them learning valuable skills and hidden things about themselves that they might not have uncovered if you hadn't taken the time and energy (and sometimes it requires a LOT of energy and patience from you) to have them working within the family.
As indicated before we have “Job Cards” (see resource section – Steve & Teri Maxwell's Managers of Their Homes). Although these took a bit of work to set up, I am very grateful for them now. They work for us – when I am faithful enough to follow-through and train diligently with our children. I have been very grateful for these cards and the training that I have put in so far – especially when I had to spend time away from home recently and Daddy was in charge – his job was made easier by the fact that the children knew what needed to be done at what time of the day.
Using our job cards within our normal schedule gives the children greater comfort knowing when they will be expected to complete jobs, and when they will have time for free-play.