Tuesday, 18 March 2014

Balanced Challenge: Day 7: Chores for All the Family

I've read a lot of Amish fiction over the last few years, and while there are some things about their lifestyle that I don't agree with, I definitely admire the way that the whole family works together, including young children. I remember tidying my room when I was young, and washing dishes and ironing when I was in my preteen years, but other than that I don't think I was particularly involved in household chores. By the time I left home at eighteen, I knew how to cook some basic meals and operate a washing machine, but I don't think I'd ever scrubbed a toilet, mopped a floor or cleaned an oven. I had a lot of learning to do in my first year of university. Based on my experiences, I'd like to involve my children in household chores from a young age so that they can gradually build up their ability to manage housework.

Since my own child won't be born until August, I don't have any advice to give on age-appropriate chores, but Tricia lists some great examples on her blog. Even three-year-olds can be involved in something as simple as putting laundry into a washing basket or carrying dishes to the sink. They might not be terribly efficient or tidy to begin with, and this is something I'll have to learn to let go of. Sometimes I ask my husband to help hand up laundry, and I find myself readjusting half the clothes because they're not hanging in a manner which is going to help them dry quickly, but I know he tried and that the clothes will dry--eventually. More importantly, he took a burden off my shoulders by helping! It's the same for children--they won't learn how to do something if we take the task away from them and do it for them because they're not doing it perfectly the first time. Tricia talks a lot about letting go of unrealistic expectations in today's chapter, and I particularly appreciated her comments about how having a desire for perfectionism at all times not only sets us up for failure, but it can also damage our spouses and our children if they don't feel like they measure up. 

Another reason I'd like to involve our children in housework from a young age is so that it becomes part of the natural rhythm of family life. Instead of seeing their assigned activities as "chores" that they have to do in order to be allowed to play outside or watch TV, I hope that in participating in such activities from a young age, our children will see that helping around the home is part of being a family, and something we do to help each other. They might not necessarily look forward to washing the dishes or sorting socks, but hopefully it won't be something they dread either! 

This post is part of the Balanced challenge with Tricia Goyer—and you can join, too!

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