Teaching little children to do household chores is difficult and challenging. That is the reason why many mothers failed on this area.
Children like to help and imitate what their mother is doing. When Mom is washing clothes, they also like to dip their hands on the soapy water. When Mom is cooking, they are like little supervisors watching their mother’s every move. For them work is not work but something they can take part and enjoy. Sadly, mothers’ usual reaction is to dismiss and direct the children to just play or worst, watch TV. And why not? Children’s clumsy little hands slow down everything that mothers are doing. Yet when children like to help, that is the best time to teach them. This stage is short and passing. Missing this critical stage can spell the difference between a diligent and a lazy person.
And so Emilie, I encourage you to teach your children how to enjoy and value work early on. If they want to help in washing clothes, give them a little basin and small hanky to wash. Teach gently and don’t rush them. Give generous praises. “Wow lang galing naman… maliit pa marunong ng maglaba.” . Train them to fold their blankets and fix their beds and other simple tasks. But they need your gentle assistance. Their work can initially hurt your eyes, but never criticise and always have a ready praise. If you fail to train them, then don’t expect that they can help you when they are older.
Give them small responsibilities in the house like setting the table. If you give them that assignment, make sure that they do it all the time. This is the way to teach them how to be responsible. If they will set the table only when they feel like doing it, you are teaching them to be irresponsible. They will also have the same attitude when they are in school, or when they are already working. Have the will power to let them do their assigned task.
Make work easier for them. If you like them to keep their toys, provide a nice box with their name on it (decorate it as you wish) and tell them that that is the house of their toys. Toys don’t like to be out of their house (box) when not in use because they will get lost and feel sad. ( I often personified things when my children were still toddlers.). The same thing applies for their clothes, bag, bike, pencil, scissors, etc. A home for every thing inside the house.
When they do good, don’t always promise tangible rewards like, ‘I will buy you this or that, or we will eat in Jollibee or McDo” Rewards are good at times, but children should be taught that the reward for a job well done is a “job well done”. Reward for good grades is not the medal, but having done what ought to be done. That is what the Lord commanded us (children too) to do.
Right now, you are given a great opportunity to teach your children how to value and enjoy work. Your success depends on your determination and perseverance. Seize the moment. It will be short and passing.