We are celebrating Mother’s Day all week here on the blog, and I am excited to bring you our first “reader response.” I asked Joanne Pfeiffer the following question: In what ways are you currently (specifically) training your children how to manage their own homes someday?
And here was her answer . . .
You said as much space as I needed . . . [Indeed–I did!]
1) Home managers must be faithful in little things. Therefore, our children are expected to be faithful in their own responsibilities. All of our children clear his/her own place after a meal. Even the 2-year-old can put his cereal bowl and spoon in the sink. All of our children take care of his/her own dirty clothes. They each (as ability allows) also put all their own clean, folded laundry away. All members of our family are learning that everything has a place and when things are returned to their proper place the whole functioning of our home runs more smoothly.
2) Home managers must develop skills related to home management. Therefore, our children are learning how to cook, clean, do laundry, organize, and do basic home repair.
I have specific times set aside (especially in the summer) when I teach my older kids basic cooking skills. They also get opportunities to practice these skills. I include my younger kids in most of my baking projects.
Last summer I focused on laundry with my 11- and 13-year-old. I tried to use this teaching model that a well-experienced mother shared with me: 1) Show then how to do it, 2) Do it with them, 3) Watch them do it, 4) Let them do it on their own.
A basic illustration of teaching my children organization is how we handle important papers and information. I have a cork board on my kitchen wall. Our kids know that any important information about field trips, sports schedules, informational letters, or invitations get pinned up on the cork board. When they follow this organizational system, we don’t lose permission slips, we’re not late to functions, and we know where to go for answers. I then discard papers from this board when the function is all done.
Monday evenings in our home is “Dad Project Time.” My husband alternates between my two older kids helping with home repair kinds of projects. They are learning how to clear the bathtub drain, clean out the garage, change a tire on a bike, etc . . .
3) Home managers must incorporate creativity to keep routine tasks from becoming drudgery. Therefore, I try to make chores easy for my children to accomplish. I have a little box in my kitchen that contains several little slips of paper. On each strip is a short but basic household task. For example, one says “clean the bathroom mirror”, one says “dust the living room”, one says, “vacuum the van”, etc . . . When it becomes chore time the older kids draw a task out of the box and accomplish it. They continue to do this until all the tasks are accomplished, or until a specified time limit has been reached. During the summer time I use a point system with my kids. Work, chores, reading, etc. . . earn points that can be spent on recreation/entertainment. Each of the chores in my chore box are worth a different number of points based on the difficulty of the task. The children earn the points for the tasks they satisfactorily accomplish.
4) Home managers must understand time management and prioritization. Therefore, our children are expected to accomplish chores and responsibilities before recreation and entertainment can be enjoyed.
Lovely ideas! Happy Mother’s Day to you, Joanne!