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Family Contributions

 

 

I’m a huge advocate of family contributions, where everyone does their part in the home and doesn’t just look out for themselves. I’m also big on teaching life skills, training, and having them “train” me back so I know they’ve learned it.

A big part of this stems from noticing how parents unintentionally create entitled mindsets in their children by not expecting kids to do their part.

What are your thoughts? I’m sure you’d agree that work is important and there needs to be a balance between work and play. In fact, they need to play.

We should be intentional about developing a clean, uncluttered, cozy home to make memories in and use their imaginations without feeling judged. But to allow only play is a “fool’s errand”.

 

Let me ask you, if not now, then when? If not at home, then where?

 

Sure, they can learn through trial and error after you send them out into this unforgiving world, but why not just teach them at home? This way they can set out with confidence, not just getting by, but knowing how to survive well.

And more importantly, how will they ever learn to serve or help others if they can’t even help themselves? It goes beyond making sure they know how to heat up noodles and use a washing machine.

If they usually require help, then they’re a burden and not a blessing (in that sense). Parents, I’m sure we can agree that a fine balance of work and play is in the best interest of our children. So let’s teach them!

 

teaching family contributions

 

 

The Benefits of Family Contributions

Our family doesn’t refer to housework as chores because this conjures up a sense of drudgery, whereas “family contributions” means just that. They are contributing to their family.  And in so doing, they can…

  1. Learn responsibility
  2. Strengthen a servant-heart versus a serve-me heart
  3. Learn life-skills
  4. Be a blessing to others as they get older because they know how to do simple things like clean, organize, grocery shop, and cook a meal.
  5. Eliminate the entitlement mentality
  6. Experience belonging to their family. It’s surprising how many children do not feel that they belong because they are not given consistent opportunities to contribute without parents looking over their shoulders.

 

family contributions

 

How To Create Your Family Contribution System

I purchased a chore chart from Amazon similar to this one where you can print or write your own cards, something I don’t mind doing because as I’ve mentioned in my favorite homeschool tools post, I love my laminator.

But if you think a writeable board would be easier for your family contributions chart, then go for it! Do whatever is user-friendly and will stick for your kids.

  1. Download my job list below for free or create your own. Delegate 2-5 jobs a day, depending on their age. Think of what needs to be done and would lighten your load. Sometimes I allow my kids to choose the jobs they’re good at and prefer (but it doesn’t always work out that way).
  2. Hang your chart in a central location. It must be in plain sight where the children pass by it daily.
  3. Talk about it with the family. Let them know your expectations and be ready to follow through with instilling this new habit, which means setting yourself up for success by making a plan.
  4. Set them up for success by preparing everything beforehand and schedule in the most realistic time for family contributions. My kids do chores throughout the day, but usually after their homeschool lessons.
  5. Keep in mind that it’s a process. Take baby steps. Have low expectations. Give them time to practice and make it a habit. Soon, it won’t be an issue if you keep with it. Don’t give up!

 

 

 

Rewards

getting paid for family contributions

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I used to give my children money for doing chores. It seemed normal. After all, adults get paid for working. But the idea of paying them to help clean their own home, though I don’t get paid to do it myself, didn’t sit well with me. Especially when they began to expect to be paid just for doing some small jobs around the house.

I don’t get paid for household chores, yet my husband gives him and I spending money every paycheck, so we decided to do the same for our kiddos. As a part of the Christian family, we all do our part, which really helps me, and we all receive an allowance in order to learn money management.

 

The Proof is in the Results

After implanting my expectations and the routine of family contributions, I can honestly say that it was well worth the effort and training. My oldest is now a teen boy and will actually suggest a quick tidy (although he didn’t grow up eager to help). I am shocked by this outcome.

If the house is messy, he announces to all that we need to spend a few minutes tidying up. And when I tell the kids it’s time to do a quick tidy (one of my favorite parenting tools), we’ll play music and get it done as a team in less than 20 minutes.

I can’t even express how happy and blessed this makes me feel and I want the same for you, dear friend!

 

family contributions

 

Family Contribution Tips

  • Do a quick tidy at least once a day, aside from their morning and evening routines. This keeps the house from getting out of control.
  • Look for small triumphs in their accomplishments. This increases their confidence and the desire to please you.
  • Don’t make a big deal of little things they might miss in the beginning. Encourage them for mostly doing a good job. You can always raise the bar next time. If you correct them every time, they’ll feel discouraged. You wouldn’t like it either if your boss corrected you every time. Remember how wonderful it feels to hear “you’ve done a  fabulous job”.
  • Shift your mindset. Detach yourself from the need for perfection because you’re really doing them and yourself a disservice. Relax. They’ll eventually learn…if you give them the opportunity and show them that you believe in them. I mean, we’re talking cleaning floors and folding towels. It’s not rocket science.
  • Remind them how much it helps you (even if it’s more work for you than help in the beginning). It might be obvious, but reminding them how much it helps can eliminate resistance. Be sincere, without a hint of sarcasm, and let them know how valuable it is when everyone does their part.

 

 

What Hinders Family Contributions?

  • What doesn’t help is constantly hovering. Explain to them that the meaning of responsibility is to complete a job so that no one has to check their work or look over their shoulders.
  • Using the label “lazy” is a huge temptation of mine. I have to intentionally force myself to abstain from using any labels. Instead, I matter of factly point out that they’re not done and walk away. I say I’ll come back in a few minutes and check again. They can’t argue too much with this. If they sincerely don’t know what they missed, I calmly point out a certain area. Don’t give them too much detail. Let their brain do the work.
  • Stop yourself from reminding them! I know it can be difficult but let them learn about natural consequences. If they get distracted after school, didn’t finish contributions, and now want to go to a friend’s house, simply say, “Did you finish your responsibilities?” If they say no, then tell them “I’m sorry, it’s too late now to finish your stuff and play with your friend, but finish sooner tomorrow and you’ll have time.” Smile kindly and walk away. Get out of there fast!
  • Not setting a timer slows them down and allows for more distractions. It’s not unusual to find someone distracted (like below). But hey! At least he made his bed and did a fabulous job. Setting a timer forces them to be on a mission.

 

 

Conclusion

I know you don’t wanna deprive your child of learning life skills. It can be a challenging process at first to create a family contribution system that works for you, but over time it will become a part of your lives.

You’ll be so glad that you invested the time because they’ll eventually learn responsibility and how to help. Let them do their part in the home. Help them to become servants instead of entitled punks.

 

 

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