By Paige Trevor
Chores: Holy moly begoly, kids can do a lot around the house. They would probably do a lot more if we just chilled out. As in, stop criticizing, micro-managing, doing things over, demanding they care as much as we do. If we thank them for the effort, provide lots of freedom on how to do the new responsibility and just basically all around ZIP OUR LIPS we might be surprised. Now, I’m not saying if you don’t criticize, micro-manage, do things over or demand that they care that you will find yourself living with your very own Alice from the Brady Bunch. I’m just saying that if you don’t criticize, micro-manage, do things over, or demand they care you might just find that people are willing to help carry in the groceries, or prep the salad, or walk the dog, or call the orthodontist, or run to the post office, or check in for that flight (YES! They can do stuff other than trash and recycling).
Waking up: Kids 6 and over can wake up to an alarm clock. Do not fall for the “I need my phone for an alarm clock.” Let them practice waking up on time when you are not super upset if they are late. We all have a different way of handling waking up. Some of us pop right up and rip the band aid off. Others love the twilight luxury of snoozing and laying ½ awake and ½ asleep (my husband calls this – ‘planning my day’). Each person needs to know who they are as they become more and more responsible for themselves. One of my kids has learned he’s a professional ‘snoozer’ so he sets multiple alarms to set himself up for success on important days. All of us learn more from our own experience than from lectures and warnings from someone else, no matter how well meaning!
Self-Care: As important as AP classes and enrichment activities are, knowing how to take care of our self and conjuring up the self-motivation to take care of our self is a skill. It can be learned, practiced, improved and mastered. There is an epidemic of kids who don’t know how to do their own laundry, can’t call an adult on the phone, or think it’s a beneath them to tidy up their own rooms. Summer is a great time to pass on some of these responsibilities to our kids. NOW, we want to PASS ON the responsibility and not heave ho in a fit of anger and judgment the responsibility. Let’s see it in action . . .
Jimmy, I’ve been so disrespectful micro-managing your life. I’m sorry. I’d be willing to show you how the laundry machine works on Saturday before your soccer game, it should take no more than 10 minutes, does that work for you? (If it doesn’t, find another mutually agreed upon time and then FOLLOW-THROUGH). I am un-willing to keep nagging you about putting your stuff into the bin, so after you are trained I will happily continue doing all the laundry on Mondays that is in the bin, sound ok to you?
Listen Buster, you are 13 and don’t do anything around the house. The LEAST you could do is your own laundry, capice? (Then nag, remind, cajole and ask if the laundry is done, WHEN it is undone lecture on their laziness and disrespect. After you are good and tired of that, do their laundry. Lather, rinse, repeat.)