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1709, 2015

Sharing Home Responsibilities

What are YOU doing everyday that you don’t need to be doing? Does your family know that responsibility within the home is a privilege that only those that live there share? There’s a sense of security that is instilled in our children when we assign tasks that promote the cleanliness and order in the home in which they live. If you are the mom who does it all of or the majority of the work and aren’t quite sure how to garner some enthusiasm and engage your children’s cooperation, I have a suggestion for you. First of all, enthusiasm for work is a learned process. If you go in trying to establish a new ‘norm’ for your children and expect them to fall over each other to clean their room, I’m afraid you’ll be very disheartened. The benefits of work only come once they SEE and FEEL the results either in the home or their pocketbooks or both! Where do you start? Glad you asked- here is a suggestion for beginning.

First, call a family meeting. Introduce the idea of shared responsibilities by explaining that responsibility within the home is a privilege that only those that live there share. Remind them that the cleanliness and order in the home is maintained easier and faster when everyone helps and then we have more time to do things we like to do better! Introduce the idea of a monthly meeting where everyone will have the opportunity to choose a job for the month.

Children are not always afforded the opportunity to choose because they are children, so they are much more receptive when they have choices where the opportunity is given. This is a life-skill they will need throughout their life so giving choices sets them up for success as they grow. So is the skill of money management. While the giving of allowances is a personal preference it is also a powerful motivator. I know it works to get me moving! Along with introducing an allowance reward, children must understand that if they forfeit the allowance to get out of the task, the responsibility to help run the household remains and is non-negotiable- they just do the task for free! That’s their choice too! That being said, if this is a new thing in your home and you have a child that flat out refuses to participate money or not, try giving that job and their allowance to another child. When the next family meeting comes up to divvy out allowances and choose the next month’s jobs, they may change their mind once they see someone else getting their allowance!

Be consistent! If chores are a totally new concept in your home, you may find that at first a child may sincerely forget to do it. Understand that changes in routine take time to establish so they get one chance! If they still forget, the task is done with no allowance given. Chances are that will only happen once!

As for allowances, visual illustrations make for powerful lessons and examples, so try the envelope system. If you are a family that tithes, give children an envelope for tithing 10%, saving 10% and one for their own spending. You can even have an envelope for a vacation fund that everyone contributes 10% to. Oh, and don’t forget words of encouragement, appreciation and reminders of teamwork! Let me know how it works!

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About Heart and Home Counselling and Consulting

Heart and Home Counselling and Consulting Services is located in Port Perry, Ontario. HHCC is a multi-faceted resource centre geared to providing a wide variety of services to the community of Durham Region and beyond. The team at Heart and Home knows that life presents many challenges.
Our goal is to work with clients to provide insight, understanding, perspective, keys and strategies for success in their relationships. This may come in the form of counselling, workshops, courses, seminars, or even speaking engagements to teach and reach more on a larger scale!

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