Our kids. We love them. We want to protect them from the dangers of life. We want to make their lives maybe a bit easier than ours. We want them to grow up to become successful, responsible adults. Most of us would agree that that includes them being able to maintain a safe, healthy, and reasonably clean home. And that’s where I frequently see an issue.
Trust me, I try my darnedest to not tell anyone else how to parent, but I want to share something I’ve heard many times over the years I’ve worked as a professional organizer.
‘Mom did everything for us kids. I never learned how to do laundry for myself until I graduated college.’
‘I never had to clean my own room. Mom and Dad thought it was easier to do it themselves, so it’d be exactly the way they wanted it.’
‘I never had chores, so I had to learn how to clean a bathroom when I left for college.’
These quotes and more are from actual clients, who’ve hired me to teach them basic organizational skills. And that’s awesome – they realize that becoming organized is a learned skill, they didn’t learn it in childhood, and they’re setting that to rights.
But I’m hearing this more and more, which I think means that while we’re signing our kids up for every possible sport and educational opportunity, we’re ignoring teaching them the most basic life skills. And that can not only have a dramatic impact on their domestic life, but on how successful they are in their professional lives as well.
So, what can we do? Here a few easy examples:
- Laundry: Set a standard that any laundry found in the kids’ hampers will be washed. Dirty clothes and towels left on the bedroom or bathroom floor? No deal. And I promise, it’ll only take one time of having to wear a stinky jersey to football practice to get them in the routine that dirty clothes go immediately into a hamper. This works for almost any age, too!
- Homework: It isn’t considered ‘done’ until everything is back in the backpack, and the backpack is sitting beside the door. This guarantees that homework actually gets to school AND the kids have to only grab their backpacks as they run out the door in the morning. Same goes for their sports gear of choice and musical instruments.
- Even the youngest kids can help with packing their lunches the night before. Keeping a snack box allows even kindergartners to choose their sides/snacks of choice for their lunchbox the next day.
For more ideas on age-appropriate chores to help kids learn to be more independent and responsible, check out these links!
- Parenting blog of the New York Times: click here.
- Housekeeping.com: click here.
- ParentingSquad.com: click here.
- PsychologyToday.com: click here.