Fall is in full gear. Our kiddos are back in school and busy with homework, sports & friends. Outside of the classroom, one of my goals this year is to teach them basic skills such as running a load of laundry, folding clothes, and making their beds. I think it’s important to teach them these basic life skills, and also show them how we can work together as a team to keep our household running smoothly.
We dedicate one hour each Saturday to these tasks, and I’ve discovered it’s all about having clarity about what we need to accomplish & divvying up the tasks according to each person’s personal interests. We start by brainstorming a list of to-do’s. The kids usually fight over who creates the list, which also serves as great handwriting/spelling practice. Other fun ways to create/divvy up tasks include:
- Go Fish – we write out the week’s tasks on index cards. Everyone gets to pick cards until there are no more. Of course there are some side negotiations, but only if both parties agree. 🙂
- Task in a Hat – once our week’s agenda in on paper, we cut each line out, fold up the task, and toss them in a hat. There’s just something fun about pulling things from a hat.
Tasks are always bite sized and very manageable – for example, putting books away on the shelves or tucking socks into balls, but I think it’s super important for the tasks to be written down – the physicality of marking something as done is really satisfying, even as adults. It supports organizational skills and creates a valid sense of accomplishment. Check, check, check.
Stocking up on kid-friendly tools, for example little gloves and fun cleaning supplies helps create an atmosphere of fun. All good artists need a good brush. Windows are simply more fun to clean with a fluffy-rabbit glove on your hand than a boring paper towel. I know this from personal experience.
Rather than using generic terms like, “Good Job” or “Nice Work”, we verbally share our observations with them, for example, “I noticed you’re working really hard on folding up your socks”, and “Thank you for helping mommy out with organizing the pantry.” This really gives them a sense of accomplishment. So they can later think to themselves, “Wow, I am a good sock folder and an awesome organizer!”
It’s a learning lesson. It doesn’t matter how well/not well they do anything. If the bathroom doesn’t come out spotless, it’s okay. That’s not what it’s all about. It’s a group effort, a family bonding exercise/experience. It’s about feeling like you’re part of a team, learning skills, ingraining some good habits, and realizing we’re all in this together.
Written by Nancy Yen of OmieLife.
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