“I want to help…can I help?” Jake yelled to me from across the house when he heard me say that I had to start cleaning. I let him get the broom out and watched as he scattered the dirt all across my kitchen floor. “Jake why don’t you help me with the bathrooms instead?” I asked trying to distract him from the sweeping. “Can I clean the toilets with that brush thing…can I pleassssse?” his enthusiasm for cleaning not waning a bit.
Jake just turned 5 the other day. In my experience with raising four children and babysitting countless others I have found that five year olds are so happy to help with everything around the house, chores, cooking, cleaning, except for cleaning their toys up. Jake loves to follow me around the house as I clean. Being a person who likes the cleaning done a certain way I let him have his time to help and when he is not around I finish the job my way. It has taken me a long time to let my children help with more chores around the house. They are all completely responsible for their own rooms. However, the dusting, vacuuming and doing windows were all difficult chores for me to relinquish control over. I am trying to overcome that for the sake of the children to be able to have a part in the clean household.
I believe it is good to give our children some chores whether you pay them allowance or not is a different discussion all together. Chores for children are good because it makes them feel partially responsible for the household and then gives them a way to feel they are a part of it all. Children love to see a tangible outcome. When children clean they can literally witness a change that they have controlled the outcome of. How much control do we give our children in life? Some parents give too much and many parents give too little. In all things it is that middle ground that helps our children the most in life. Even if we are clean or tidy control freaks for the sake of our children we need to let them help and give them chores. They need to take on that responsibility for their self esteem and their future homes.