Friday, May 30, 2008

Responsibility Training

"For each one should carry his own load."
Galatians 6:5

I recently listened to a recorded seminar called, "Raising Large Families," from the 2008 Seminary Wives Institute Seminar Saturday. One main point of the speaker's message was "don't do anything that someone else in your household can do."

This got me thinking: am I doing things for my children that they really should be doing themselves? I realized I was tidying Calvin's room every day, sometimes more than once. If he makes the mess, can't he clean it up?

So I've added to Calvin's list of responsibilities, which I wrote about back in October. He now is responsible for tidying up his room every morning.

I've walked through this process daily with Calvin over the past few weeks:

  • Books don't belong on the floor. Put your books in your book box or on the shelf.
  • Neither do clothes belong on the floor. Are they clean or dirty?
  • Dirty clothes go in the laundry hamper.
  • Hang clean shirts in the closet.
  • Put clean pants, shorts, underwear, pajamas, and socks in the correct drawers.
  • Close the dresser drawers.
  • Close the closet door.
  • Put your pillow and blankets on your bed (he's not to the point of actually making the bed, but this is a good first step).
  • Look around. Did you do everything? Doesn't your room look good now?

I see some progress. Cleaning his room is now an expected part of our "morning jobs," and, for the most part, he has been doing it without grumbling.

Of course, I like his room to be clean. But I hope that I am instilling in him a sense of satisfaction from orderliness and a job well done.

I'm finding out that, yes, a three-year-old can clean his room, though teaching him how is tedious.


tanyapettitt said...

Hi Kim! I check out your blog every once in awhile, you have a beautiful family. We do this with our 3 kids and thought you might enjoy some other things they do. Evan and Moriah take turns serving at snack and meal times, serving others first. They have been doing it since Moriah was 2 and they love it. They each have a job to help the family that they do by themselves. Moriah wipes the table after meals with “help” from Weston. This requires a good sweep after on my part but, w/3 little ones when doesn’t that need to happen! Weston or Moriah put the silverware away (Weston tosses them unorganized). At 4.5 Evan started unloading the dishwasher. We time him and then I have to beat his time loading, he thinks this is pretty fun. He also takes the garbage after we gather it and takes it to the garage. Thought you would enjoy!
Love in Christ-
Tanya Pettitt

Kim said...

Thanks Tanya!
Those are some great ideas.

Lady Librarian said...

Hi Kim! I checked out your blog today for the first time. It's so great! I, too, have been teaching my kids responsibility. Especially after my mom sent me a book, titled "Parenting with Love and Logic". It was originally "invented" by teachers for teachers but then they wrote a book for parents. Anyway, I appreciate the content after the first few years of teaching my kids responsibility and how natural consequences come into play when they get to the ages of my kids. I am amazed at my kids' logic! :) Check it out if you can and I'd love to know what you think. My mom's students are especially responsive and adore her more than any other teacher.