Life Skills: Helping your kids learn responsibility

This post is inspired by a blog post I read on A Homeschool Mom. She wrote about raising motivated learners and suggests that when we allow children to participate in the chores and duties of our home, we’re teaching them important life skills.

I wholeheartedly agree!

She then asked readers to comment about tasks we’d turned over to our children and that got me thinking . . .

One year when my eldest daughter, Dania, turned ten, I decided one of the gifts I wanted to give her was responsibility. I wrapped “the gift” in an actual box – the words “Congratulations on turning ten! Now you get to take on the responsibility of doing the dishes.”

Dania - funny face

                    She thought I was joking.

Mind you, I didn’t just hand the task over to her to do as she pleased. I spent time training her on how to properly load and unload the dishwasher. I made it easier by making sure she could sort silverware into multi-compartment storage trays.

 silverware

Then I taught her where to put all the dishes and pots and pans. And when she got it wrong or chose to be sloppy or lazy, I trudged to wherever she was and made her redo it. Eventually she understood that if she didn’t do it right the first time, she’d just have to do it again.

I’m not going to lie, it’s a painful process at first. I can unload the dishwasher in less than three minutes (I know because I try to race myself). But having to train other people can take five times as long (at least). I found that the hardest part for me is being patient while my child is learning a new task.

The funniest thing is that when I gave Dania this gift, her younger sister, Katya, got jealous and decided that she too would have the same responsibility. To that I said, “The more the merrier!”

Here’s a tip: Give your child the job you hate doing the most – it motivates you to hand off jobs every year!

My girls are now 17 and 18-years-old. Dania started working in a restaurant a couple of years ago and outshone the other kitchen workers. In fact, since she’s been there, the sanitation score has gone up and she’s been promoted – twice. I take satisfaction knowing that her early training helped her get and keep a job when others were laid off for the winter.

Your turn to share: What’s your least favorite household chore?

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