The holiday madness is over, the new school year has started, the school work has doubled and the stress is piling on again.
Don’t we all love January… the month of getting back into the swing of things, back to routine… the salty crack month that seems to never end.
I have always felt that kids need the whole month of January to recuperate from the December madness. A full month of school holidays, Christmas and new years parties, visiting with friends, sleeping in and going to bed late (and we have the added birthday thrown into the mix). After all the madness is over there is an adjustment period needed, rules need to be re-established or re-written according to the level of responsibility they can handle.
We expect so little of our kids, play learn and have fun… but what are we teaching them by allowing them to have little or no household responsibilities? Is it not our jobs as parent to insure that the person/s under our care can one day head out into the world with the tools they need to survive? In eons gone by boys learnt how to hunt as soon as they where able to hold the spear… girls were taught how to gather vegetation for food, medicine and shelter as soon as they where able to walk unaided around the camps built by the entire tribe, young and old.
Granted we are not living in those times anymore but the principles should still be there. I know the schools work our kids hard… they should be able to get home after a long day of learning to unwind on the couch in front of the TV or computer. This might only be my opinion but…NO! I look around me and see children with no social skills, no sense of responsibility, no manners and honestly I blame us parents. Most of us spend our days at work just to get home and continue working there because heaven forbid we should ask our kids to pitch in. Kids should be kids right?!
Why should it be an either or situation? I’m not saying our kids should not be allowed to be kids, running around carefree, what I’m saying is there is a place for everything. Our kids should be able to clean up after themselves, not just packing away their toys… you know your child and I bet you know what they are capable of doing, here is the secret they are capable of more than you expect. Washing out the tub after a bath is the easiest thing possible (it doesn’t need to be spotless but give them the chance and soon it will be) Hanging up their own towels and putting dirty laundry in the washing basket is not rocket science.
Helping out with the cooking (nothing near the stove for the little ones) and helping with the dishes should be a must. This creates not only a sense of responsibility but creates the opportunity for conversations. Their rooms should be their responsibility, and if the bed is not made with military precision so what! They did it themselves, praise them for it and you will see each month it will be a little easier, a little neater. Watering the garden or helping with the weeding gives them that much needed Vitamin D (our kids spend way to much time indoors!)
Pocket money is one of those things a lot of people differ on… for us pocket money is the equivalent of a salary, Triston has a set of responsibilities that must be done without us nagging him about it to receive his “salary” (this is the real world reality, you don’t get something for nothing). Each January we sit and discuss the responsibilities he has had up until that point, we all make suggestions on how much his responsibilities will grow and what the fines will be should he not complete his tasks as agreed. As with the real world, with the added responsibilities his pocket money increases.
We don’t do this because we are lazy, we do this because one day (in the not to far away future) we would like to send Triston out in to the world knowing that not only can he say please and thank you, but he can clean up after himself, that he will have work ethic, that he will have pride in what he does and what he accomplishes and that he will know how to work with money, not with a sense of entitlement but with a sense of accomplishment. We would like to see him enter the big world out there equipped with all the life skills needed and this will not be possible if we never give him any responsibility… Its my responsibility to teach him his responsibilities.