I am learning that nagging the kids to clean up really doesn’t work. When I ask them to “clean up your room”, I am ignored or forced to listen to the whining. Let’s face it, if someone gave you a vague task like “Get a new client” or “Write a new program” and we had no experience in doing so, we would not know where to start. A mentor or supervisor or instructor has given us the specific steps we need to take to accomplish this task. At the very least, we’ve had life experiences which help us to figure out a way to get started.
It’s the same way with the kids. We need to empower them with the tools they need to accomplish the task.
For example, this weekend, instead of saying “clean up your room”; I gave them specifics. For my son:
- clean up the lego on the floor
- put the magnets away
- put the toy guns, soldier items away
- tidy the top of the foot locker
He knew where these things go and what my expectations were. So, he set about doing these specific items. He did it at his own pace; even spent time playing with some of these as he was putting them away. It didn’t matter, there was no “agenda” and I’d rather he do it at his own speed rather than mine. I did not hover and he completed the tasks as I asked.
For my daughter:
- hang up her clean laundry
- tidy the top of her dresser
- put away her magazines & books
- pick stuff up off the floor
Again, she had a specific list. The lists weren’t long and I believe that they felt like these wouldn’t take all that long so there was no whining. I simply asked them to do these items before they continued with the rest of their day. My daughter is suddenly becoming much more mature and capable as a young woman (she’s 13 in a couple weeks!). She went above and beyond in her room!
When you empower the kids to do things on their own and in their own way, they feel the reward of a job well done. As she tidied the areas in her room, she cleaned and reorganized as well. I did not ask her to do this. She has just seen the value of being able to find things now in our home (most days! 🙂 ), so she wanted the same in her space. Her grandma is a big influence on her and has shown her how to clean as well as I like to explain what we’re doing for organizing jobs as well. This was the incredible result of all her hard work:
There are still going to be days when they whine and I yell. We’re getting there. There are days when it’s really difficult to let them do it their way rather than mine. It keeps getting better and better though. The more I empower them to do things on their own; the more they are up to the challenge.
Do you give your kids specific tasks for their jobs around the house? Do you have tricks to share? Let us know in the comments!