The Foundation for Prepared Children
As parents, we strive hard to teach good habits to our children, but sometimes we forget to explain the importance and worth of obedience chores and cleanliness to our children. When we help them understand why these habits are important we help them become internalized. So, if you’re not enforcing values with zeal now is the time to start.
Good habits are really just building reflexes to guide your daily living. Just as when the doctor tests our reflexes, and our knee jerks involuntarily; good habits are the knee jerks that enable us to deal with the ups and downs of life without expending extra energy. In a disaster, they can be what save your life or that of your kids.
In a disaster, they can be what save your life or that of your kids.
I’m a big stickler on obedience! Kids need to learn that your instructions are important and are for their safety. Obedience is part of building trust between parent and child. As they practice obedience they see the positive consequences of following our counsel and instructions.
We also need to be able to trust that our children will follow through on instructions. This trust frees all of us to use our time and energy for other things. If you have a 3 yr old you understand how this lack of trust and obedience is so draining. Be specific in explaining this process. For their safety and the safety of others, trust and obedience are vital.
I often use the example that if there’s an earthquake or tornado and I tell them where to go for safety I need to be able to trust that they will do exactly as I tell them the first time.
In a disaster, there is no second chances or time for hesitating.
It takes time and lots of hard work for both parents and children to develop this trust and obedience. It’s messy but hopefully, as we teach from a place of love, concern, and compassion it will become a strength and not a weakness. Some children are easier to build this relationship with than others. If you feel this is an area of weakness in your parenting or family don’t hesitate to seek help or do some reading on this.
I’m not advocating an authoritarian parenting style, although I’m often guilty of it; I am advocating cultivating an environment of trust and love that facilitates a greater desire to be obedient. These are some of the books that have helped me in my journey towards this goal. (These are Amazon affiliate links, thanks for the support!)
- The Child Whisperer, The Ultimate Handbook for Raising Happy, Successful, and Cooperative Children by Carol Tuttle
- Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead by Brene Brown
- Parenting the Strong-Willed Child: The Clinically Proven Five-Week Program for Parents of Two- to Six-Year-Olds by James Dobson
- Parenting With Love And Logic (Updated and Expanded Edition)
Chores teach survival skills and personal responsibility. Survival is a family effort. Cleaning up around the house, yard work, housework, gardening, and home repairs are the essence for rebuilding after a disaster. Now is the time to teach your kids those skills, not while you’re stressed out when everything is on the line.
Chores are also a vital skill in preventing many disasters. Home fires can be mitigated or avoided by a tidy, well-organized home. Proper home maintenance and repairs can prevent certain home fires as well.
In the event of many disasters, like earthquakes, fire, and flooding, a clean house can be the difference between a quick and safe evacuation or a dangerous rescue situation.
Try the website DLTK for ideas to help get you started with free custom chore charts. They’ll help get your kids motivated where chores are involved.
Be sure to explain to your kids you’re not just making them do this because you want to make their lives miserable or because you like having a clean house, but because this is a safety issue. Teach them how cleanliness can make a difference:
- Putting shoes away in a central location so you can find them quickly when you need shoes to get outside. Or would you rather crawl around on glass looking for them in the event of an earthquake?
- A clean room is a clear exit for a quick and safe escape in the case of a fire, and in an earthquake, it may just lessen the debris. A dirty room can block their ability to get to a safe place during an earthquake.
- A clean room and home will decrease fuel for a fire, a likely hazard in itself especially after any disaster, even floods.
While I’m sure these are all things we are currently striving (or battling) to instill in our kids there are a few things I have learned as I’ve gone the rounds with my 6 kiddos.
First, teaching them the Whys and Hows of obedience and cleanliness. Sometimes we forget to explain the principle of the matter and some of the consequences. What I’ve written above is the exact same way I’ve explained it to my kids, this is a great place to start.
Second, include them in putting a plan into place. Whether it’s letting them pick their themed chore chart and a chore or two, or designing a rewards system, the more involved in the process, the more they will accept their role and participate with success.
Lastly, make it fun! When it comes down to actually doing the chores, work together and make it a fun experience. Try musical dance clean up, or a cleaning scavenger hunt. A race for the competitive type, or a simple game for picking which chores to do. A cleaning minute to win it, or using a dice to determine a time limit. You may have to switch ideas to avoid boredom, but it’s definitely better than fighting and crying over chores.
With summer break right around the corner, now is a great time to test out some new ways to teach, encourage, and reward obedience chores, and cleanliness. Share your ideas and successes in teaching your kids, and making chores more enjoyable and rewarding. We are all in this together.