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Chore Time for Mum - Issue 235
January 27, 2012
Hi there! ....

This week we celebrated my Dad’s 70th birthday (actual day this time). My Dad is largely responsible for whom I am today – and I don’t say that lightly. Dad has always encouraged me to be true to myself, to think and yet to stretch and grow. He has been beside me with loving and accepting arms when I have failed and encouraging words when I struggle. He has taught me to think and to stand up for what I believe. He taught me that I was God’s daughter first, His daughter second and with that identity, all would be okay! He now gives that love and encouragement to his grandchildren. As a family we are very blessed to be able to build upon his shoulders. So thank you Dad – and happy birthday!

Live life with your kids!

If you are an Australian reader I would appreciate you reading this special request.

Chore time for Mums

My kids do a lot of household chores – between the four of them they keep the kitchen, bathroom, family room clean and tidy, they do the family laundry and look after outside chores as well. They are totally responsible for their own bedroom and ironing. They each cook a few evening meals a month.

What is left for me to do you may ask!

My main responsibility is to train them in their responsibilities. I may not be doing much of the actual chores, but I am training. Training in and of itself is a chore – it is my job every day.

There is a downside to this though – your house may not look like you wish it did, it won’t look like a magazine cover. As homemakers ourselves, we have to come to a place of contentment – that our home is a training ground, it isn’t a showcase.

When my kids were little I of course did these tasks, but I had my children working alongside of me; learning, not only the skills, the how-to, but also the heart for work, for serving and for being a team. Doing household chores is a very good heart training ground. If we aren’t careful though we forget the heart and just get the house clean.

So the important things to teach are:

  • A heart for work – a work ethic, and an ability to do the tasks
  • A heart to serve others – we live in this house together - we do each other’s laundry, we wash each other’s plates, we clean the bathroom so it is nice for the next person.
  • A heart for the family – we are a team and we work together, play together, and pray together.

As I have said in the past, a key motivator for me is that I want my children to have the skills necessary to look after their own responsibilities as an adult: their time, possessions, money, and self. I also want them to have the skills necessary to look after other people – to be able to help people outside of themselves.

It is important that we know, deep in our heart – that we are convinced, why we are teaching our children these chores. Once I know my ‘why’ I can start to work on ‘what’ I’m going teach, ‘when’, and ‘how’. If we don’t know why then we will feel bad when our children challenge our decisions.

Training really is a full time job. Remember training our kids involves

  • Showing them how it is done – being a model
  • Teaching them – breaking each skill down, talking it through,
  • Letting them practice – don’t walk away and leave them to it after you’ve taught them, continue to be by their side, guiding and adjusting their efforts
  • Let them be responsible – once they are doing a good job consistently, walk away and let it be their responsibility – don’t hover but do make them accountable. Get them to report back, you go and check it and either praise them for a job well done, or get them to repeat it if it hasn’t been done right.

Sometimes it is just easier to get in and get it done yourself – but you are short changing your kids if you do this. Training is emotionally draining as well as time consuming. But you and your children will reap the benefits. If you want to increase what your children are doing around the house – spend this week observing all that you do and ask yourself the question – which one of your children could do this task? Or - Which one of your children needs training in this task? Take notes and start to prepare for a time of training and adjustment. They may or may not need training, they may need reminding and encouragement, but bit by bit get your children to do the things you know they are capable of doing, then move onto training them to do a little bit more.

As a wife and mother we wear many hats – now you can add Trainer to the list!

Read more on my website: Responsibilities

What Every Child should know Along the Way is a very helpful book as it gives a list of household responsibility (aka chores) that the authors consider age appropriate. You may tweak them (as I have a little) but it does give you a guide and a starting place. It also has a great section on Character training.

I blog during the week over at Live life with your Kids Blog. Over the last few weeks I've posted:

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My Bookshop

Blending Life with Lessons e-book - Does your everyday life challenge your homeschool ideas? This is my journey as I discover that it is possible to disciple my children in today's busy lifestyle.

Heart Focus Parenting book/e-book - A heart focused parent will keep their attention on their child's heart for God, instead of on external behaviours.

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Until next week

Belinda Letchford
Living life with her kids in Australia!

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About Live Life with your kids Newsletter I know homeschool mums are busy with lots to read, so I have divided my newsletter into four sections and you will receive one section a week; short but regular newsletters!
  • Be a Deliberate Parent – Encouragement to continue in purposeful and intentional parenting.
  • Family Life – Spotlights on a particular aspect of family life so we can see the natural opportunities available to us in educating our children.
  • Character Education – Each month we focus on a different character trait – The newsletter will include application for Mums, as well as seeing character training opportunities in everyday life.
  • A Homeschool Thought – Discussing homeschool issues

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