(A Story From My Life)
It's Monday morning and mom is ready to start the week out right. After a summer full of going here and there it is time for family structure again.
“Time to clean your rooms everyone.” Mom says with a smile. “This is an instruction.”
“Okay.” “Okay.” “Okay.” “Okay.” Say all four children ages seven to fifteen years old before they walk to their bedrooms to start working.
After about five minutes the children made their way back into the kitchen and started picking up their books of choice without even checking back, which is one of the steps to following instructions. (The steps to following instructions are in the book Parenting A House United. ) Mom knew she needed to do a few things. Those rooms were messy and they were all back too soon to have finished properly.
“Quin, are you ready for me to come check off your room?” Said Mom.
“Uh, well, I didn't know you were checking. I better go touch it up a bit before you check it.” Said Quin.
“Me too!” Added in Londyn and Porter simultaneously.
“I'm not ready either.” Said Paije.
“It is obvious that I have been very mean to you children this past month by not remembering to check your rooms and chores off very often. I'm so sorry. The last thing I wanted to do was encourage you to be lazy in your work. I'm so sorry. I will give you all five more minutes to prepare for inspection.” Responded Mom.
After five minutes, Mom went to each room to check off the instruction. Upon inspection, three of the four children had little things to improve. After they had picked up the few things they had missed Mom apologized again for not thinking to check off chores for a while and then praised each child on their clean rooms.
Why Didn't Anyone Earn Extra Chores?
Normally Mom would allow her children to earn extra chores if rooms didn't pass inspection, but since Mom had a pretty relaxed room and chore standard through a busy summer month she felt like it was time to re-learn the skill.
So, no extra chores were earned because it was a time to re-focus.
Sometimes a skill which was once learned needs to be re-learned. Teaching the skill again and talking a child through the mistakes is a great way to freshen up the skill. Now, the child can reach a new level of mastery, which is probably closer to Mom's level.
Why Would Mom Take a Break From Caring About Chores For a Whole Month?
Life happens. In the summer we travel a lot. We also have many day-time outings and a large garden which consumes a lot of the family's energy and time. During these times we relax in other areas so that Mom, Dad, and children don't stress out from the inability to get it “all” done.
Taking a break is okay from time to time, just so long as you follow it up with a great re-focus lesson.
The Moral Of The Story Is...
...checking up on your child's chores creates less work in the long run. I know it seems like more effort at the time, but the child who gets the opportunity to be checked up on during the young years is more likely to learn to do skills like an adult should do them than the child who is allowed to get by with half an effort.
Also, when you don't give your child the chance to perfect a chore for check off, your child might get in the habit of doing dishonest chores. A dishonest chore is a chore which is done part way and then left, or a chore which is not done the way the child has been taught to do it. I don't ever want my child to learn to “play a system” or try to “get out of something.” So, I have to catch everything to make sure they know dishonest chores are not acceptable.
About Checking Back
Checking back is the last step in the five steps for following an instruction. The reason this step is part of the skill is so that parents remember to check off things and praise a job well done. If your child knows how to check back and doesn't, then it is possible the instruction wasn't completely followed.
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