It can be an overwhelming time for any working parent to manage all the household chores along with everything else.?? These are some simple things that share the load, while also empowering kids to becoming independent, capable and confident young adults.
- Forward planning – make a weekly dinner plan for the upcoming week ? listing the dinners for each night? and stick to it!
- Only shop once a week (preferably online) to purchase all the ingredients for the ?meal plan? and ensure you are within your budget. If not, revise the meals (e.g. buying in-season fruit/veg and seeking out specials on seafood and meats. You can save a lot of money here).
- Initially involve young children to be a part of the meal preparation ? from setting/clearing the table, packing/emptying dishwasher, helping with salads, peeling vegies etc.
- As children gain greater confidence, invite one child to be your ?sous chef? each night and allow them to get more involved in the cooking process – initially by helping you cook a few family favourites (for me it was Spag Bol, Butter Chicken with Rice, and Burritos) and then invite them to cook on their own one night a week! ?From here your child will start to select their own dishes to create on their nominated night.
- Encourage your children to always thank the cook/s for dinner.
Tip: Invite all family members to nominate a night and meal choice once a week.? Add these ingredients to the shopping list and post the dinner schedule on the Fridge.? For us, the person cooking also does the dishes, feeds the dog and puts the dishwasher on, and best of all they tick off their duties for the week!
Note ? be flexible if something comes up ? sickness, last minute sporting commitment or late appointment, and the person can no longer do their night. Empower them to work with other family members to swap.
Also note the pride your children feel when they cook for the family. Praise, praise and praise some more!?? This is such a fantastic way to arm your children with confidence in the kitchen and the ability to be able to cook from a young age.
It?s never too early to involve children in laundry and other household duties and here are some of the ways I?ve encouraged participation.
Allocate each child with their own laundry basket (in their rooms) to bring out on ?laundry day? and sort into colours, darks and whites? bundles.
Children can help hang up washing ? particularly smaller items on a clothes horse, or larger items on a clothes line/Hills Hoist if this can be lowered to meet their height.? Again, ask children to help by taking clothes off the line once dry, sorting and taking to their respective rooms.? (It?s great to arrive home from work and have the clothes line empty, and the washing put away!)
Older children can be further encouraged to help by putting a load of washing on and hanging out clothes ? especially on weekends or during school holidays.? From a nominated age (say 16 and over), encourage your children to be responsible for their own laundry, and allow them to be fully accountable for the process. This will be a great skill for when they leave home.
Whether you have a regular cleaner or not, I encourage involving children in keeping the home looking neat and tidy.
Divide and conquer ? literally. ?I divide the number of key rooms in the house that need cleaning by the number of people in the family ? my initial home had 7-8 key rooms (bathroom, living room, dining room, kitchen, 2 bedrooms and a study) and included just three of us.? So, I invited the girls to nominate two rooms each that they would be in responsible for cleaning.
Tips – lower your expectations and encourage through praise.? Seeing your child dusting and tidying up is wonderful, so support their efforts.?? Keep the cleaning chore inside a manageable timeframe such as 20 minutes to 1 hour. It?s much more fun if everyone is working on cleaning tasks at the same time.
Depending on the age of the children, it may be best to do the floors yourself. However, once they express interest and are old enough (and strong enough), allow them to vacuum and wash floors ? these can go on the job lists in place of rooms.
Allow teenagers to take full responsibility for cleaning their own rooms and shared bathroom.? This will take patience on your behalf but saves a lot of effort in doing it for them later in life. Use incentives, such as suggest they clean their room before you can drive them to a friend?s place.
Special note – If your children/young adults have never been asked to contribute much to the running of the family home then you could expect some unwillingness at the outset. Persist.? You will be creating more responsible, independent and confident young people through teaching them life skills that they will be immensely grateful and proud of in the years to come.
Manly based business owner, accredited Yoga instructor and former single mum, Simone Larmer is passionate when it comes to empowering children at a young age to be responsible, confident and caring.? Her experience of being a single mum with two young children to later remarrying and expanding to an instant family of seven, has given her a raft of experiences, and challenges!? She shares some of the lessons she?s learnt along the way in the hope that they may be useful for other parents. In addition to raising her family and running a small PR business, Simone also provides free weekly community yoga classes in Manly, enabling local residents with access to yoga and insights into living a more compassionate and empowered life.