Do you see kids and think, “god they're entitled?!” Maybe you do, but now, it seems that there's a lot of pressure being put on dads not to be so overbearing. As dads, we fight the battle between being as liberal as possible, but also, we're trying not to turn into our own fathers. And, it seems that most fathers in them days were all stiff upper lip, handlebar moustache, and the sound of them shouting your full name of the stairs brought more fear into you than an impending apocalypse. As a result, we can feel a bit of a struggle when it comes to implementing ground rules without being too overbearing. Also, we want to make sure that our kids have a decent work ethic, and this is where chores come in handy. So, how can we get our kids to do chores without it feeling like we're pushing some sort of slave labour onto them?
Get A Reward System
A reward system works for most kids. It's a great one for teenagers, but it's an age old process that all parents have learnt to get the kids to do anything, from eating their broccoli, all the way through to reseeding the garden. Yes, you might find yourself in some sort of Mexican standoff for them to pick up their clothes off the floor, but a reward system is something you should implement as soon as possible. It seems that the threat approach doesn't work as well, so you've got to go with the underhanded bribery approach.
Do It With Them
With a task like getting the garden ready for summer, they can certainly feel like they're being exploited, especially if you don't give them pocket money! So, as is the age old approach of leading by example, get down on your knees and do the work with them. Be careful with this, because if you are doing more than your share, they could easily find a way to slip away from the task! And be careful with work where you request they get their hands dirty, because you could find yourself having quite a few discussions about the finite fertiliser details and how much it could smell like poo. And, mummy won't be so pleased as to this type of conversation! So keep the poo talk to a minimum. But, if it's a handy distraction, and helps them to get their hands dirty, then it's a small sacrifice.
Praise Their Efforts
There are two schools of thought with praising a child for their efforts, one is that it's done too much, and the other is that we don't do it enough. But, if you are constantly at odds with them to get something done, you've got to praise their efforts to begin with, you can then slowly ease off the praise, because they expect it every time they do something basic. Depending on the chores, if it's something that everyone has to do, then a simple “thank you” would be enough. There's no need to bring out a fanfare everytime they wash a plate, unless, of course, they are some sort of super baby, in which case, you need to Instagram that stuff! Or call Mensa, whichever you prefer.
Getting your children to do chores isn't slave labour, but it can feel like being a parent to a stubborn child is like you're putting yourself through the wars. Stick at it it dads!
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