Whatever with Heather - Mindset, Parenting & Personal Growth

8. Empowering Kids through Chores: Building Responsibility and Success

August 23, 2023 Heather Evans Season 1 Episode 8
Whatever with Heather - Mindset, Parenting & Personal Growth
8. Empowering Kids through Chores: Building Responsibility and Success
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

In this episode we delve into the world of children and chores, debunking common misconceptions and shedding light on the empowerment that comes from responsibilities.

Imagine your kids taking pride in their accomplishments, learning empathy and becoming competent adults. We break down how chores aren't burdens but instead, stepping stones to success.

We then talk about building an effective chore system that cultivates resilience and promotes teamwork within your family. From assigning zones and daily tasks to making chores enjoyable, we've got you covered. Be sure to grab your free chore resource guide, designed to assist you in establishing a system that's tailor-made for your family. Let's journey together in empowering our children towards becoming responsible and successful adults!


Speaker 1:

Hey y'all, welcome back to another episode of Whatever with Heather. Today we're talking about chores and chores for your kids and how chores will help your family All things chores and stay tuned, because at the end I'm going to give you a link to go grab your free chore resource guide to create a chore system for your family that works. First, we're going to talk about the benefit of chores and why you need a chore system in your family. If you're not on board for your kids having chores, hopefully this will change your mind and give you some good reasons why chores will help your kids and be worth the work of you teaching them. And then the second thing we're going to talk about is how to create a chore system in your family that works for your unique family. I will tell you what our family does, but since all families are different, the way chores will best work in your family will be dependent on many factors, including your kids age, how much extra time they have, whether you're a work at home mom or a full-time stay at home mom, as well as your spouses or partners contributions, if you have a spouse or partner. So let's dive right in. First, let's talk about why your children need chores and why you, as a parent, also need your children to have chores. The fact is, most parents, and oftentimes moms, are drowning in chores. Managing your household and taking care of all the things is a lot to handle. People say being a mom is the best job ever, and I disagree, because it's not a job. You're not paid, you're not compensated, and one of the biggest requirements of being a parent is all of the work, the chores, the dirt, the clutter the things that come with becoming a parent. Studies show that currently, the majority of children are not doing chores at home. There was a study done a few years back of American parents of just over a thousand a thousand and one parents, and 82% of them had done chores as a child. So these parents had grown up doing chores 82% of them but only 28% of them had their own children doing chores. That's a big flip, a big switch. I assume if you're listening to this podcast, you probably had chores as a kid. Most likely, especially given the statistics. We grew up doing chores and having responsibilities. I don't know if that's one of the big reasons why our generation of parents is not giving chores, because we didn't like doing chores as kids, but for some reason, parents are not giving their children chores to do. I was even like this for a while. I did not want to burden my children with work. I wanted them to have fun. There are multiple reasons why parents don't have their children do chores. Oftentimes it's because they don't want their children to have to suffer through the burden of chores. Another reason is their children don't do the chores. Right or the correct way could be that their children are very busy and the parents don't want this goes back to the burden of it. The parents don't want them to have to do more and have more on their plate. Another reason could be that maybe your way of showing love is doing things for your family. So by doing chores for your children, it's a way of showing love for them. Those are probably some of the reasons why, if your children are not doing chores or not doing very many chores, that's probably why because I've been there and I get that Eventually I had to strip back and think of what benefits there are to giving children chores. There are studies that show that children that have responsibilities are happier. Children with chores grow up to be more successful adults. And why could this be. Why is this? When you give your children chores, what you are saying is you believe they are capable of the chore. You believe they are capable of accomplishing the thing asked of them. You believe if it's a chore they've never done before, you believe they are capable of learning a new skill. Chores around the house can become a great opportunity to empower your children with responsibilities, ownership, and also let them know that you believe they are capable of anything that comes their way. Some other things that chores teach our children are empathy, respect and love. Just like oftentimes when we're doing chores for our children, it's to show them love. Them taking on some of the household responsibilities allows them to show love for their family, as well as respect for the spaces they live in, as well as being able to empathize with the person who does the majority of the cleaning. If your children are anything like my children, they leave stuff around, and until they had to realize the work that it takes to pick up all of the things that are left everywhere, there was no way for them to comprehend the amount of time and energy that it takes just to pick up things, not even to clean the house. I'm sure you can relate on that. The picking up of the clutter around your house can often take more times than the actual cleaning, and by the time you've picked up the clutter you're like oh, I don't want to clean, no, because you're exhausted from all the things. And so, at the very minimum, by having our children pick up their things, we help build that empathy, the understanding of what it takes to pick up multiple things. Let's also talk about doing chores the right way. A lot of parents don't like that. Their children are not doing chores the right way. The only way your children will ever learn to do chores the right way is to allow them to be beginners and do them the wrong way. First, think about your child learning to write the letter A and they start writing the letter A and the time they do it it's not going to be correct and it literally is three straight lines, but they're going to do it incorrectly. We don't get mad at them the first time they write it and it's wrong, or maybe even the 10th time or the 20th time. We know that part of the learning process is to make mistakes, and so by allowing your children the space to make mistakes while they are doing chores or learning new skills, you allow them to feel safe to try something new and therefore by repetition they become better at it, just like they do if they're writing the letter A or they are practicing a sports skill. The chores in your house are the same type of thing. They need repetition and they need to be allowed to make mistakes. Mistakes are part of the learning process. Your children gain efficiency and skill the more they are allowed to do the same task repetitively. All of us gain efficiency and skill when we do the same task repetitively, and so if they can build those muscles you know the memorization muscles of how to clean this or how to put this away while they are young, then as adults they will have that speed and efficiency. So chores don't take them the entire day. They will have built up the ability to do things well, do them efficiently and have them not take forever. One of the biggest things I realized and now my children are older, I have a high schooler, a middle schooler and an elementary schooler is that you only have so many years to teach them all they need to know, and if you wait until their high school years, when they are doing lots of extracurriculars and their social life matters so much and you use those years to try to teach them everything they need to know how to clean a counter, how to clean a backsplash, how to clean a stove, how to clean a fridge, how to wipe down the counters, how to wash dishes, how to dry dishes, how to load the dishwasher, how to unload it, how to clean a microwave there's so many chores and that's just the kitchen. If you wait to teach them all of that until their teens, then they have to cram it in and try to learn as much as they can. But if you can spread out this knowledge and this skill set throughout their childhood, they can slowly stack skills on top of each other and then it's not overwhelming. And the most important part of chores is just letting your kids know that you believe they're capable. Letting your children know that you believe they're capable is one of the greatest gifts you can give them. When we are so concerned with them doing it the right way, what we're telling them is that the way they will do things is wrong and it is not okay. When I realized that was the message I was sending my children by not letting them do things because they would do them quote, unquote wrong. I was telling them that being wrong is not okay, but being wrong is okay. And then we learn from our teachers, our mentors, our parents in how to do things in a more efficient and better way. And sometimes my children do chores differently than me, shocker. Sometimes they have their own processes, shocker, and as an evolved human being, I have to be okay with other people having other processes and ways of doing things. And yes, it's hard, because the way I do things is the right way, right with air quotes. It can be hard to step back and realize there is more than one right way to do things and allow your children the space to try different ways. The other benefit of doing chores goes to the parents. So your children benefit by feeling more capable, more resilient, more empowered, more empathetic. More responsibility allows them to feel more ownership over their home and the space they live in. But as a parent, there is also a benefit. The sooner you can begin to offload everything that it takes to take care of your household, the sooner you will have more time and space to enjoy those people that are in your home. There is no reason why one person in a house should be responsible for 90% of the chores and tasks of the home. We may say it's my job. It's my job. It is not a job, you are not compensated for it and it builds up a lot of resentment. Some people are very happy to do this, but if you're not one of the people that feels absolute joy in doing everything for everyone, then it is time to start building a life that you actually enjoy by allowing those you love to have the opportunities to grow and become capable and build skills, and at the same time, that will create space for you to enjoy them more than you resent them, to spend time with your family more than you spend time on taking care of your family, because at the end of the day, at the end of the years with your children, you will remember the moments you spent together, not all the little things you had to do every day. So if we can create time and space to spend more time together, then we will create a life we will look back on and be so grateful that we created that time and that space. One of the first things we did as a family to teach our children the value of their contribution was to do 15 minute pickups and this might be a great way to start with your children, no matter their age. And when my kids were really little, we would take a picture of the room or we'd record the room while we did it so we could see the whole process of us all cleaning, you know, fast forward. But or you could just take a before picture and we each would spend 15 minutes cleaning, set a timer. There are five of us in our family, so we would all clean, all five of us, for 15 minutes and we would stop at the end of 15 minutes and we would look at all that had been done and I would say to my children my husband was there too. Right, he's contributing, but this was mostly for the kids. I would say to my children oh my goodness, look at how much we did. If I did that alone, since there's five of us and it was 15 minutes, that would be like me doing an hour and 15 minutes of work, but since everyone was willing to contribute 15 minutes, we can all be done now and get to have fun together. That worked wonders for me and wonders for our children to realize the impact that them contributing has on the ability for our family to spend more time together. This also begins to build empathy with your children, the empathy of valuing your time as a mother. As the mom, my time is not less valuable or less important than the rest of my family, and oftentimes things get pushed to the mother to take care of, but nobody really values the time or effort that goes into that. So when our children were able to see that their 15 minutes saved me an hour of time, they felt pride in that. They felt good about that. They appreciated how much time it would have taken me to do alone or their dad to do alone. They became better humans because they were contributing their time to support those they love, as well as being given responsibility for the home they live in. So if there's any place you start, I would start their 15 minute pickups In our home. My husband, my spouse, is very involved in helping with chores. I would say he and I share the load equally and sometimes he carries more and sometimes I carry more, based on what's going on in our work life and professional careers. He and I have a great balance there and we have added the children in and added more chores on as they get older and more efficient at their chores, so that our family chores are really balanced. Of course, more still falls to my husband and I, but I wouldn't say it's some overwhelming majority where our children don't contribute or are unable or unwilling to contribute. So if you are a parent who does most of the work and you would like your spouse to contribute more, the 15 minute timer is helpful there as well, because it allows everyone equal time contribution, regardless of skill level. Okay, so now we have talked about all the benefits of chores the benefits for your children, the benefits for you, the benefits for your family and are there any negatives to chores? Yes, as a parent, you will have to put in the work to teach these skills to your children. But it's either you start to put in the work to teach them now or you carry those chores and responsibilities with you throughout their entire 18 years in your home. You give them the responsibilities and tools now, or when they become adults they don't have the capabilities or knowledge or skillset to manage their own lives. Everything you can do to teach your children while they are in, everything you can do to teach your children while they are in your home now, will be a gift that serves them later and it will become a gift that serves you in offloading some of these really heavy, tedious, monotonous chores that just have to be done to live your life. So let's talk about a chore system. The first thing we've already talked about is setting a 15 minute timer. That may be the perfect way to start and begin to build resilience in your children to do work, because if you're working and they're working and your spouse is working and everyone all the siblings are working, then we start to build community and teamwork as a family. Creating a chore system is teamwork, it's community, it's supporting each other. So start to build that in your family. If you don't have that now and you feel like you'll never have it, by not trying to build it you guarantee you'll never have it. But by working to build teamwork and community in your family you will slowly get there, or maybe you will quickly get there. Every family is different, so if there is a foundation in your family right now that is not teamwork and not community and not support, then you may have more of an uphill battle, but that's okay. It's okay to have to work for the family dynamic you want. It will always be work, and it will either be work in a family dynamic you do not like and do not enjoy, or it will be work to build the family dynamic you do want and that you will enjoy. So we pick which work we want to deal with. So, setting the chore system, start with the 15-minute timer. Start with taking a before picture and an after picture. Start to make cleaning and work and chores fun. Allow your children to listen to music while they do chores. I know, for me I like to watch a TV show or listen to music or listen to a podcast, because, frankly, I don't like doing the dishes or folding laundry. So for me, I add in something enjoyable. This is something your children can start to learn now as well. Now, as far as a chore system goes, we decided in our family that we would do zones, meaning we would break up the house into zones and everyone would have a zone, and the zone would rotate weekly. Therefore, every family member would have every zone at some point, and every family member meaning mostly the children, because my husband and I know how to clean, but every child in our house would learn how to clean multiple areas of the house, because cleaning a bathroom is different than cleaning a kitchen, which is different than cleaning a family room, which is different than cleaning a playroom. They're all different and some of the skills cross over. So as a family, we broke down what would be every person's daily tasks the things that they're responsible and no one else is responsible for, and then our family community chores, the zones that rotate through our family. So the daily chores that each child is responsible for in our family is their bedrooms, keeping them picked up, dusting once a week, vacuuming once a week, and we have a list of a few other things that they do once a week in their room, and we also have a list of things they do once a month. Now do we stick like hard fast to this chore chart and no, no variants, no room for skipping. No, we are not that strict, because even I, as someone who does chores, I'm not that strict with myself. So we work on being able to look around and see what needs done. A lot of complaints that I hear from women about their husbands and their children is that they can look around and not even know what needs done, like the house is a mess and they're like we don't even know what to do or where to start. So by allowing your children to start to do that for themselves, you build up that skill. The other thing our children are responsible for are their bathrooms. So every week they're responsible for picking up their own things in their room and their bedroom being clean. They're also responsible for the weekly cleaning of their bathroom and daily pickup of their bathroom, and then the other thing they're always responsible for is just making sure their stuff is picked up around the house. If they are doing these things daily, this takes them probably anywhere from five to 10 minutes a day, which is not too much, in my opinion, to contribute to the cleanliness of your space and to learn how to do chores. The other things our children are responsible for are their own laundry. Our daughters are 12 and 15. They wash and dry and fold their own laundry, and our nine year old he folds his home laundry. He can't quite reach to the bottom of the washer yet, so that is why we've held off on that, and he loves listening to music when he does his laundry, so that is the only way he'll do his laundry, otherwise he hates it. Okay, so those are like the daily chores Bedrooms pick up your stuff around the house, bathrooms. Then we have five zones in our house. And why five? Because there are five of us my husband, I and our three children. This way, the house is split up into five equal parts and these zones change every week. So kitchen is one of the zones. So you are only responsible for cleaning the kitchen once every five weeks, which is not too much, I will say. During the school year we actually don't have the kids clean the kitchen. That one stays a zone for my husband and I, because we find that the kitchen can get really backed up when everyone is really busy and since usually either my husband or I are at home during the day, that's when we take care of the kitchen. That is one thing we have the kids do during the summer or when they're off of school, but we don't require during the school year because it really becomes backed up. Our other zones are our dining room and pantry those are combined the hallway, office and stairs, the media room and game room upstairs and then the last zone is the living room and laundry room. So when designing the zones, I tried to think of the ease of cleaning each of the areas and tried to make sure each area was balanced out in the amount of chores, and for each of these areas we have daily chores that need to be done. Those usually are just picking up, or what we call resetting the area. So if there are things there that belong to someone else they all have areas they go like the things for the kids whose bedrooms are upstairs go on the stairs. The things that go in our daughter's room go there, things that are my husband's and I go in our room, and they can just drop them off in those rooms and not put them away because they're not their items, and then just resetting the room back to normal. So that might be blankets back in the basket or pillows back or things left out put away. And since we do this for each other, you become more mindful of putting your own things away as time goes on. Is our family perfect? No way. All of us All of us, even me leave stuff out and someone else picks it up here and there, and that's just the way of the world. So these five zones rotate and that way, every person in our house gets an opportunity to learn how to clean each of these areas. This includes baseboards or dusting blinds or vacuuming floors or reorganizing DVDs or video games. All of these skills slowly get learned throughout multiple times of having the zone. On our zone cards. We also have a choose one, which is something that would get done once a month, and so, as they're choosing one, they learned some other skill. I'll actually share in my link what our chore chart, our chore cards, look like, so you can actually see the way we lay these out and mimic something for your family, if you think this would be a great way for your family to start. Now, what ages did we start this at Young? Our son, I think, was five years old when we started this system and I realized that he was capable of doing all those things Vacuuming capable, dusting capable. Is a five year old going to vacuum or dust the way I would at 36 years old? No, because I have 31 years of vacuuming and dusting experience longer than him. So, making sure that your expectations of your children are reasonable, or else you're going to be very frustrated when you expect a five year old to clean and dust the way you as an adult would clean and dust. So I've told you how we do our chore system and here's a few things you can think of when doing your chore system. How much time daily would you like your children to spend doing chores? If you feel that 15 minutes a day is a reasonable amount, then try to build your chore system where the chores that they do daily will fit within this time frame. And remember, the more often they do chores, the more efficient they will get, and so slowly adding things in as time goes on. So if you start by saying 15 minutes a day is plenty for them to do chores, they have homework, they have school, so 15 minutes is more than enough to put on their plate for now, perfect, let's do that. Let's start at 15 and write down what you think they could get done in 15 minutes, and that will be their chores until they get more efficient their chores. There is no reason why all of this needs to be dumped on your child at once. This is the whole reason. We start when they're young is so when they're teenagers or adults, they don't have all of this dumped on them at once. So feel totally fine, just by slowly stacking in chores as time goes on, and then you can start to build in a chore system where things are happening more automatically and less nagging from you. Now, a question that comes along a lot with chore systems is do we do allowance? And yes, we do allowance. I will do a separate video on that and why we do allowance. I did not grow up getting an allowance and I know some people disagree with allowance. We have very specific reasons why we do allowance, so I will do a different podcast on that. Okay, I think that covers everything. If you have questions, shoot me a DM on Instagram or, if you're on YouTube, leave a comment and I will answer your questions the best I can. Now, if you're wanting access to the free chore guide how to build a chore system for your family that works, there's a link in the description of this video or in the show notes of this video, depending on if you're watching this on YouTube or listening to this on the podcast. There you can sign up to receive the PDF for the chore guide on how to create a chore system that works. This is totally free. I just wanted to give you something tangible to look at as you work on building your chore system in a way that serves your children and serves you and builds your family and creates community and teamwork in your family. If you have any feedback on this episode, feel free to contact me on Instagram at HeatherEvans Life, or, if you are on YouTube, leave a comment. I'd love to hear your thoughts and your feedback on chores, what you think about them, if you're into it, if you hate it, if your children do everything wrong. Whatever your thoughts are, I'd love to hear them and if this episode has served you, I would appreciate so much if you could leave a review on your favorite podcast platform or subscribe on YouTube and I'll see you next time, on Whatever with Heather. Bye for now.

The Importance of Chores for Children
Benefits of Chores and Sharing Responsibilities
Building a Chore System for Family
Collecting Feedback and Thoughts on Chores