"....Your children shall be like olive plants all around your table." Psalm 128:3

Monday, January 21, 2013

Chores for Children {part 1}

People often ask me how I "do it all". I assume that the person is referring to homeschooling and homemaking.

Well, I will be honest: there is a lot of work to do in our home. And with a family of seven (5 children still at home), I do not do it all  myself, because I should not do all of the work.

So instead of doing it all, I delegate some of the work to my children. But with all the chores that need to be done around here, my children could easily become overwhelmed...if I didn't delegate in the right way. And I could easily become exasperated by their not wanting to do their part.

When I was a little girl, I hated doing chores; I griped and complained to my Mom about every little thing she asked me to do. I don't know how should stood it!  But I don't want my children to hate helping out around the house.  I want to instill in them a good work ethic.

 And I want my children to have a servant's heart...to love helping others. And to do it without grumbling and complaining. 

 I  also believe that it is a priceless lesson in responsibility and life skills for a child  to be required to do daily chores. If handled properly, chores can be an excellent opportunity to teach the joy of serving.

One mom said that she exchanged the word "chore" for "service", because "chore" had too many negative connotations associated with it. That wouldn't work at our house. Our children know that chores are just that - chores. And some of those chores are exactly what the word implies - work. 

However, how I ask my children to do their chores can be done in such a way as to make them realize they are doing it for someone else. For example, if the hen house needs to cleaned out, instead of, "Clean out the hen house", I tell the boys, "It would be a great help to Dad if you would clean out the hen house for him. That way, he won't have to do it when he gets home from work." The mere mention of helping Dad motivates the boys to do their very best, and not only do they clean out the manure, they are eager to do some little extras:  sweep down cobwebs, clean out the drinkers and feeders, etc. And with that attitude, they are actually joyful about cleaning out the hen house...all because they know are helping out their Dad.

As for the girls, if I say, "Dry and put away the dishes", they won't want to do it. But if I say, "It would be a huge help to me if you would dry and put away the dishes while I fold laundry."  They jump right on it and most importantly, do it with joy, knowing they're helping me out.

Also, if I ask my children work with me, they are very eager to help out. I love having them work alongside me. It's a great opportunity to fellowship with them.

And I always remind them that whatever they do, whether it's a chore, or school lesson, or whatever it is, they should do it as unto the Lord. (1 Corinthians 10:31)

When children have an attitude of serving others, the task takes on less meaning, and the giving of themselves in service becomes more important. This is so critical in the way we all should respond to what the Lord would have us do. How beneficial  for our children to learn to serve the Lord (by serving others) through working in the home.

What a blessing it is to have the opportunity to involve children throughout the day in ways that serve others in the context of daily work in the home!

How about you, friends? How do you handle chore time at your house?

"Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with your might..." ~ Ecclesiastes 9:10

(Stay tuned for part 2, when I will discuss exactly which chores my children are responsible for.)

Have a blessed week, everyone!

sharing with  Deep Roots At Home