Tuesday, August 9, 2011

You Have to Train Them Young

You have to train them young if you want them to help you when they are older. And I am totally serious about this. Because I used to work part time while we were homeschooling, I had to have help from my daughters to keep the house up. I wasn't going to be gone nine hours and come home to a disaster, so the girls learned young that they had to help in the house. My mom would be here of course when they were young and she was instrumental in giving them regular chores that they still do to this day.

You cannot wait until they are older and then ask them to help you and expect them to not only know what to do but to have the discipline to do it without a hassle. I have friends whose kids do nothing around the house and they say I am lucky cause my girls help. Yes, I am lucky, but I put the time in when they were young teaching them how to clean and how to do it without complaining. Basically, if they complained then they got more chores until they stopped complaining. Sounds mean but you only have to do it once or twice and if they know you are serious, they will take you seriously. Don't give up because it is hard work to teach them to do it the right way but they will get it. My 17 year old has been largely in charge of our laundry for years. She does a wonderful job and when I chip in to help her fold she says she hates the way I do it. I mean she brings our laundry folded in perfect squares with tight corners. She is a bit OCD about orderliness so she is perfect for this job. I hire her to organize cupboards and drawers, she is so good at organizing.

Hard work when they are young will pay off immeasurably as they get older. My girls will move out and know how to cook and clean. Doesn't mean they will, but it won't be because they didn't learn here. My oldest is sort of a slob in her own space but she can cook, do windows and even fix a lawnmower. She is a stud. She works three jobs this summer saving for a car. Hard work never killed anyone and our kids are soft these days. They need a strong work ethic instilled in them if they are going to survive. I may sound like a slave driver, but I really am not. I have a full plate as well, especially with a husband that works out of town and long hours. I have to do what a lot of husbands would normally do at times and my girls, at least the younger ones, have more free time due to homeschooling. This is just a bit of motherly advice for those raising young ones right now and some encouragement to keep at it when training kids to help around the home. I don't have perfect kids and they sure don't have a perfect mom but don't hesitate to get them started young as it will pay off for you later and really for them too. They may never admit it but you will have taught them valuable life skills.

Linking to:
Time Warp Wife
Domestically Divine Tuesday
Tip Junkie
Bowl Full of Lemons
Barn Hop
A to Z
Not Just a Housewife
Raising Homemakers


  1. Very well said Elaine! I agree with your sentiments as a parent. I admire parents who were able to train their kids at an early age.

  2. You are one smart cookie! My kids did chores when they were little too. But since I was here at home, I did the lion's share of work. Both in the house and in the yard. I realize now, that it was a big mistake. But it is too late to change that. They are grown. They know HOW to do things, but they are all three quite different in their levels of what they do in their own places. Course, two are back here right now, and I sure wish I had some more help !!!

  3. I so agree...I learned to work and so did my kids. So many just sit around playing video games and don't even learn how to go outside and play let alone work! ;D

  4. Fabulous advice and post Elaine! I had a conversation this weekend about this very subject with my DIL. I raised my boys so they would be well rounded and independent when they reached adulthood. I taught them how to cook, clean and make general (house & auto) repairs. My boys also learned that complaining would garner additional chores. Consistency is the key - you must be consistent. My DIL did not have that type of training as she was growing up and, thus, was ill-equipped for living on her own. With the help of my son and me, she is turning into little miss homemaker and I am so proud of her. I believe it is very important to begin teaching our children responsibility at an early age. Of course, that responsibility should also be age appropriate.

    ~ Tracy

  5. You and I would be very fast friends if we lived near one another! I totally embrace your philosophy and do the exact same thing. Starting at a very young age with appropriate tasks was the key. We have only one child at home, and he does all his chores (most days) like clock work. Our oldest child was given the instructions, and now it is up to her to apply them while living out in "the real world." Our son has worked so hard this summer (serious-living in the country allows opportunity to do some manual labor for friends who live near by) and is determined to save every penny. I am so proud of him. No, hard work never killed anyone. I had two jobs for a long time, while living on my own, until I ended up working in a job that provided a salary where I did not need the second job. My husband and I were just talking about this. :o)
    Sorry for the book! Wow! We have so much in common!

  6. You hit the nail on the head it this post! My mom parented us the same way and now those of us who are married have finally come to appreciate all that chore drilling ;-)

  7. This is a great post. Just a question for you though? Do your kids get allowance for their chores or is it just expected as being part of the family? I am on the fence about this one. I have a 1 and 4 year old and I think if we were to start doing an allowance, he would be ready for it soon.

  8. Elaine....you rock! I grew up in a house where mom did everything and when I moved out I had no idea how to clean, cook or do laundry. My kids have always had chores and are so happy doing them. I haven't done laundry in 6 months or cleaned the stairs in a year because my kids have been tasked those chores. It may not be perfect done, but they are learning a life lesson. If we as parents don't teach our children, who will? Thank you for this post!

  9. Totally agree! This is how we roll at our place too.
    Lusi x

  10. This is so true. I can't wait to teach my little one (just turned one) how to clean. He is already helping me pick laundry up off the floor and put it in the washing machine. He is so proud of himself when he does it. :) I was not taught as a child how to clean up after myself and it's been a hard process of retraining myself as an adult.