“Raising Highly Capable Children: Household Chores”

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Lisa:  Someone once emailed me a funny story about a couple who was watching late night TV.  The wife declares to her husband that she is going to bed.  She then spends the next hour running around the house doing last-minute chores.  In the midst of her frenzy, the husband announces to no one in particular that he is going to bed, and then he immediately powers off the TV and simply goes straight to bed!

At some point, we moms just need to abandon that “you’re doing it all wrong-I can just do it better and faster myself” attitude.  No wonder we get burned out so easily!  If our children are to become responsible, we need to create opportunities for them to mature.  It is even more critical that we challenge our children with labels.  I cannot stress enough the positive changes that have evolved as a result of Sophie’s completion of daily chore lists.  Chores have improved her manual dexterity and tactility, increased her sequential processing, given her a sense of purpose, redirected her from mindless activities that do nothing to develop her brain, increased her poise and maturity, and they’ve helped me to dwindle MY to-do list!

After investing the time to teach Sophie (then age 10) how to do laundry, I was still reluctant to abdicate my responsibility.  I once folded a load of her clothes and sent her to her room to put it away.  After what seemed an eternity, she had still not come back downstairs.  So, like any good mom, I um, well uh…I went to spy on her.  I found that she’d dumped the entire load on her bed to refold it since it was not done to her standards!  This was one of many epiphanies, which helped me realize that Sophie was highly capable.

Sophie:  I do a daily list of chores.  Actually, I’d really rather sit and read a book, but I do help out around the house.  I put away dishes, take out the trash and put new liners in the cans, vacuum the carpets, dust, fix beds, water the plants, do laundry, and scrub bathrooms.  I do get an allowance for doing all this work.  I use this money for buying treats like a kid’s hot chocolate at Starbucks on library days.  I also donate some of my money to the collection basket at church.  Goodbye folks!