One of the most often asked questions that I get asked on social media is, “What do you children do while you clean?” Well, this answer depends on the day, time, and task, however, typically they are either helping or playing in a room near by or in the very room I’m cleaning. This has always been how I’ve approached cleaning in my home. I try to involve my boys, and I’ve always tried to make sure that our daily routine included tidying our home. Today I’d like to dedicate some time to talk about training our children to be helpers in the home. My hope is that these few suggestions will help you in your own home and encourage you to encourage your children to get involved. I will not pretend that I have all the answers, or that I have it figured out, but my prayer is that it’s encouraging and helpful. Home should be a tranquil and peaceful place. It should be a place of order and a place we are able to find rest from the noise of the world.
By nature we are all sinners and this is also true of our children. I always laugh at the way Elisabeth Elliot words this very real truth. “We are born rebels, in sin did my mother conceive me, the psalmist says. We are born shaking our fists at the world. It is the job of the parents to take these uncivilized barbarians that God gives us and to make of them saints. It’s your job as a mother to give saints to God. This takes far more than any one of us has a human being. We are not up to this job.”
We need His grace and strength every day. And we need His strength and grace in training up our children.
Our sinful nature, this rebel inside all of us, plays out in all areas of our lives. By nature our children will not be responsible little people. By nature we are kind of lazy and definitely self centered, but with dedicated training and prayer I believe we can teach and train our children. As Elisabeth Elliot says, as mothers, we are working at giving saints to God. We can pray each day that God would provide the grace, wisdom and strength that we need. While also praying for their salvation, that God would draw them to himself and make them a new creation in Christ.
MODEL THE BEHAVIOR YOU’RE ASKING OF THEM
If you are expecting things from your children then obviously you should be modeling the behavior to them. Your children are going to most often follow your lead. They are going to pick up on your moods, your reactions to things, your behaviors, etc. If you want them to be good helpers and responsible little people it’s important you model that for them.
GIVE THEM AGE APPROPRIATE CHORES AND TASKS
I have tried to be intentional in teaching my boys to be “helpers” from a young age. I’ve always tried to keep the task age appropriate. I wouldn’t ask a three year old to go take the huge garbage can to the curb. I give my boys task that they can manage independently. Of course you need to show them how to do things initially, keeping in mind that after a few run throughs with mom they should be able to manage the task alone. For instance when they were little we would always clean up whatever we were playing with before getting more toys, before nap time we always would clean up whatever toys were out. Doing this day in and day out makes it a habit and just becomes part of your daily home rhythm.
ENCOURAGE THEM TO HELP THEIR SIBLINGS and TO THINK OF OTHERS
Encourage your children to be aware of others. Remind them often to be willing to help a sibling or family member when they see a need. Older siblings helping younger siblings not only helps momma, but it gives them early training to be aware of what’s happening around them and that helping others is good and honorable. Loving our neighbor glorifies God.
TEACH AND TRAIN THEM
It is so crucial that we take time to teach them hands on. This means you need to be dedicated to spending the time to show your children what you expect. You need to train them the way things are to be done and should go. You can’t assume they are going to figure it out. You are demonstrating your love for them as their mother when you take time to teach them life skills. I know we often think it goes quicker if we just to it ourselves. Don’t get me wrong there are times when I take this path because it needs doing right away. But if their parents don’t train and teach them, who will? It’s important that you remain committed.
CREATE A CHECK LIST
Aren’t checklists so fun? This is a super helpful tool for those visual people. I personally love lists, it keeps me focused and on track. Plus doesn’t it feel so good to mark things off once you’ve completed something. My boys love lists just like their momma. Even if you’re not a list person, I promise you a checklist makes a difference and I would bet your kids would love being able to check off their tasks.
While, yes, you should give them tasks they can do independently it’s also important to stay close by, observe them and if you catch something in the moment point out lovingly their mistakes. Make sure you’re checking in and observing their work especially when it is complete — praise them on a job well done, offer more instruction on things they had trouble with. Encourage them as they learn and grow. Be gracious and patient with them.
I hope these ideas are helpful to you, dear mama, as you train your children. Blessings and thanks for stopping by today!