As I think back to my childhood, I remember the chores my brothers and I had to complete each day.  These simple tasks of making beds, hanging clothes on the clothes line, setting a table, doing the dishes are some of my favorite memories with my mother.  Back then it was work, but I fondly remember the conversations and time spent with my mom.

As an educator and former Kindergarten teacher, I could always predict if a child would be successful in math and reading in first grade.  The secret was whether the child learned to be helpless or was self-confident in their attempts at new situations.  The crying child that often uses words such as “I can’t” when doing simple routines such as cleaning up their supplies developed into irresponsible behaviors and transferred into their learning responsibilities.

My advice to families is to continue giving chores to your children on a regular basis even through their complaining.  It is important to model the training for them so it is done correctly.  It also builds great memories for your child(ren) of time spent together while learning steps to success.

If you are in need of some modeling tips, here are a few that you may want to consider:

  1. You may have heard the phrase, “In one ear and out the other”.  This is true of some people, but other people learn through this auditory learning, so step #1 is to TELL THEM.
  2. You may have heard the phrase, “A picture is worth a thousand words”.  This is true of some people because they learn best by seeing or through visual learning. Step #2 is to SHOW THEM.
  3. You may have heard the phrase, “Learn by Doing”. This is also true of some people called kinesthetic learning. Step #3 is to have them DO IT before they forget.

Throughout this three step process, always remember to praise, prompt, and give positive constructive feedback.. Practice does NOT make perfect, only Perfect Practice gets the task done correctly. Your presence and time are essential.

You may wonder what to do if your child simply refuses to obey or throws a fit.  Remember that this will require persistence and time on your part, as well as some creative motivational techniques.  Your time together will be motivation enough for most young children.

Example:  You need to get your bath and brush your teeth and when you are in bed then we will have the rest of the time before 9:00 (keep your promises) to read stories together.

Remember that learning responsibility is not like a cold, you don’t catch it; it must be taught!