A recent survey from Mintel shows that 76 per cent of the UK’s parents with children aged 6-17 say that their kids have no cleaning responsibilities.
Which means 2 things:
1) Parents are running around too much, pandering to their child’s every need and wondering why they’re so exhausted and unappreciated.
2) The child or teen is not being equipped for their future such as… jobs, cleaning, tasks and other responsibilities that come from a responsible life.
I knew it was high, but not as high as that!?
Throughout my years of coaching young people the question around responsibility such as cleaning room, emptying the dishwasher, taking the rubbish out, etc – most of the time the answer would be ‘my Mum or Dad does that’… even cleaning kids rooms!?
Yes, it’s astonishing.
This is a generation or more missing out on learning the skills of delegation (you to them), trust, commitment, responsibility, pride, care and time management, not to mention learning the lesson, if something isn’t done then other more enjoyable things might not happen. AKA consequences.
The survey was all about cleaning and I totally understand with regards to health and safety, there are going to be some things not appropriate for them to do (i.e. cleaning toilets or where chemical cleaning products may be used, etc).
I remember from the age of about 8 sorting the washing, cleaning the bathroom sinks and generally taking responsibility with small tasks around the home, with more responsibility with age whilst still living with parents.
This was a general rule in our household (for my sister and brother too), which helped my Mum & Dad of course but also taught us about responsibility and care of things early on in life (coupled with the motivation that if we could do this then we may eventually be able to have a dog in the home because we demonstrated our ability for responsibility!).
I make this post slightly longer for the purpose of understanding the importance of your child or teen doing simple things around the home, giving them essential life skills they can use in the future. And also there are certain things in life we may NOT choose or want to do, but have to do them anyway. Compulsory Conditions.
We must STOP bubble-wrapping (I often call ‘Shrink-Wrapping’ because it shrinks their development and growth) kids into having everything done for them, not only does this create an unhealthy expectation that it’s someone else’s responsibility… but also a lack of motivation, care and self-satisfaction.
So here’s how to communicate with your child or teen about helping with duties around the house.
First of all explain the importance of taking on responsibilities around the home and also how helpful it’ll be for you, so you can spend more time relaxing or going out, etc.
You may set up a weekly task/activity chart, that could be linked to pocket-money or other reward. However, it’s important not to set the precedent that every time they do something they’ll be instantly rewarded (as again this is not always how life is). Sometimes the activity itself is the reward.
“I want you to please empty the dishwasher in the next 20-minutes so we have clean plates ready for dinner, thank you.”
“I want you to clean and tidy your room before you can go out to play with your friends please.”
Another motivating option is they can put some of their favourite music on to make it more fun and create a more enjoyable experience – the job gets done and they’ve felt good in the process. Remember you are not just a parent but a ‘Good Feelings Manager’! 😉