Here is the sum of our 2020: “At Home With Children. All the time.”
And finally the 2021 everyone has been waiting for is here. All of us are still jet lagged from 2020’s unexpected life changing maneuvers. As for our family, it was a year my children will never forget. For them it meant freedom of some sort. They were able to spend more time with mommy and daddy, they had extra screen time (yes I had to do that for my insanity, don’t judge); they did get more presents for some reason from all relatives for the lost time spent together, etc.
Although they are still having a hard time why they cannot play in the playground when there are other kids around.
It’s just tough on them. On us.
There were pleasant changes though; which is what I want to talk about today. I decided to work more on my positive parenting efforts. (Because the other option was to lose my mind).
One of the methods I am practicing is to involve the kids with the chores around the house. The idea is to make them feel an important part of the family, which helps their sense of belonging; therefore they do the chores voluntarily without us nagging them all the time. Sounds great, right? Well, it may sound impossible to do this for some of us, (ok, most of us), but it works surprisingly well when you do it right.
Here is the keyword to success: “Training”. Yes, you train the kids. My children are 4 and 8, so it was different training methods I used for both. For our 8 year old son, we told him taking the trash out was his job from now on. My husband trained him for 2 weeks. They took the trash out together, and he showed him what needed to be done. But the key is at the beginning we had a conversation like this: “You are important to us and an important part of our family. When mommy and daddy do all the work around the house, that leaves less family time spent together. If we share the work, it gets done sooner and we can have more time to do the things we want most. Now for this particular chore, you are the boss and daddy is your helper. This is “your” job. This method is called the “Stewardship”; from my favorite book that I take to my heart for my everyday life: “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” by Stephen R. Covey. And it works.
As for my 4 year old, she learned to make her bed everyday. We love our Turkish Cotton Coverlets that are so lightweight and easy to handle even for a 4 year old kid. She makes it perfect every time and so proud of herself every time she makes her bed.
Another secret to this training is setting up a routine for each chore. Children love routines. In fact they want to know when it is time to eat, go to bed, take a bath, play, take out the trash, etc. For my son everyday before dinner time, he takes out the trash. My daughter knows to make her bed every morning first thing. My favorite project was to clean and organize all the shoes in the house. I didn’t know my sneakers were that white:) We used the easy cleaner for sneakers:)
In any case, it takes about 2 weeks of every day training for each chore. Trust me, it is well spent and saves so much time later on.
Now we have a clean and neat living room with all the toys put away neatly in the bins by the kids, they set the table for each meal, my son even does the laundry and most importantly they now know how to fold laundry with Japanese style folding which I will tell you about in another article.
My point is; now that all the work is shared, we all have more time for things that matter more.
And yes, it has been a very shaky and sad year for the most but it also gave us so much opportunity as a family that otherwise we would never choose to do.
Just don’t beat yourself up if the children are not behaving the way we dreamed them to; we are all just coping and learning about ourselves each day; they are doing the same.
Have a lovely and healthy 2021.
From Our Family to Yours.