I’m getting ready to say something REALLY controversial…A Child Chore System should NOT be your first priority if you are trying to lighten you own cleaning load and get your home in order. Isn’t that a weird thing for a woman who has built her whole business around teaching Moms how to get their children doing chores to say???
Yes. It absolutely is…but it’s the truth. Hopefully, by the end of this blog post, you will understand what your first, second, and third priorities should actually be. Once you have these three things in order, THEN, you will be able to successfully teach your children to do chores as well.
Priority #1: Do you know how to run your home well?
Have you ever heard the saying “The blind leading the blind“?
Well, if your home is a total disaster (no judgement from me, mine used to be too!), and you don’t know how to fix it, and you don’t even know how to keep it clean on the rare occasion that you have managed to get it clean…well…
If you are trying to also implement a child chore system…you are the blind leading the blind.
Anytime you, as the parent, are trying to teach your child how to do something new, you must approach it with a certain level of confidence and mastery, otherwise, your child will see right through you, right?
Can you teach a child to ride a bike if you have no clue how? Can you teach a child how to float in the water if you don’t know how to swim? Can you help your child with algebra if you haven’t done it in 15 years, and don’t remember how?
Can you teach a child to make his bed and insist that he make it every morning, if your own bed is never made, and hasn’t been for years? Well…you probably could. But there would be an enormous amount of resistance…
Your child would probably consider you to by a hypocrite, would not understand WHY you are now insisting on this chore, and would most likely argue, complain, whine, and pout until you finally relent and excuse him from the job.
But as you know, running a home is SO much more than just making your bed every morning. Do you understand what it takes to keep your kitchen clean throughout the day, how often your bathrooms need to be cleaned so that they are always clean and never disgusting? Do you have a regular vacuuming and mopping schedule, how about a routine for cleaning up and around the table after each meal? What about laundry…and on and on.
That whole list is probably overwhelming to you…think how much more overwhelming it would be to a child, who is not used to any of it.
Priority #2: Are you consistent in your home management efforts?
So, let’s say that your house isn’t a total disaster. But the only time it’s really truly clean is if you are expecting company. And once your company is gone, it’s a slow (or fast) slide back to a place where you would be embarrassed if your friend dropped by unannounced.
It’s not actually dirty (well, maybe just a little), but it is definitely cluttered, and messy, You would never in a million years take a picture of your living room and post it on Instagram, unless you had spent at least 15 minutes cleaning up first.
You know what needs to be done to get and keep your home clean, you just don’t do it. Whether it’s lack of time, or lack of motivation or discipline. It doesn’t get done on a regular basis.
Again, not judging…this also used to be ME!
If you try to introduce a child chore system to your children in an effort to have a home that is reasonably clean all of the time…again, you will most likely fail, and for the same reasons as the first scenario.
First of all, children know when they are being confronted with hypocrisy. They have seen you crisis clean the hour before your friends or family arrive. They know it will go right back to “normal” within a day or two, and they know that is YOUR clutter on the island, just as much as anyone else’s.
You may be a big part of the problem, but you see your children as the only problem…
Children also know that you are undisciplined yourself. They know that all they have to do is wait you out. They have seen you implement new home management and chore systems over the years…and it will probably only take 1-2 weeks at the most before you give up and go back to the old way of doing things.
All they have to do is give off enough attitude to discourage you and wait…and it will be right back to the comfort zone for everyone.
Priority #3: Do you have a good home management mindset in place?
This is the last and final piece to the puzzle. Your own mindset around home management.
You have to want it and do it for yourself, and for no one else.
When I first started my own journey into finally keeping my home reasonably neat and tidy all of the time, the thing that motivated me the most was that I wanted my home to look good, even when someone dropped by unannounced. And for some reason, that was happening a LOT of the time.
So, it was external motivation that got me going. But it was intrinsic motivation that KEPT me going.
I started to realize that when my home was neat and tidy, I actually felt better. I could sit down and look around and actually enjoy my home. I started decorating, because, for once, the decor wasn’t lost and stifled by all of the clutter.
So I realized, hey! This clean home stuff is actually REALLY nice. It’s what I want all of the time…now how do I get it?
But I had to get to that point first, on my own. I had to set the stage, for what the home needed to look like, but also, what kind of self-discipline it would take to keep it there.
Once all of those things were in place, THEN, it was time to get the children on board with a child chore system.
So…if you have tried a million times to get your children helping regularly around the house, and every time it has ended miserably (for everyone), it’s time to take stock.
Are you still struggling in any of these three areas?
My Freedom Moms Challenge has helped over 4,000 women get these three areas under control so that they can then transition easily into getting their children doing chores. It’s a three week challenge, and you will be amazed at how much of a change you can make in that short time!
Here’s what a few Moms have to say about the Freedom Moms Challenge:
If you’re ready for a reasonably clean and neat home, that you don’t have to spend hours and hours every week maintaining, check out The Freedom Moms Challenge!