The Art of Delegating to My Kids

If your family is like mine, both parents are working full time jobs. Life can get chaotic with our schedules and often the housework gets neglected. The kids are on summer break right now and this adds to the chaos. We have been fortunate to have grandparents who are available to watch our kids and help us hand them off between shifts at work.

After a couple of weeks of being behind on cleaning and always feeling like we were playing catch up, we had a major realization. We needed some help. Faith and I were trying to do it all on our own, but with our current work schedules, it was not working out very well.

That was when the idea hit us.

One of our family core values is Community or Team Work. There are 4 people in this family and the work can be shared. My kids are old enough to help out more around the house. So we asked ourselves, where can they help us out? You can read more about our family core values here.

It was like a light bulb turned on. I am embarrassed that I didn’t think of this sooner.

How do we go about delegating things to them?

1. Establish a spirit of team work

First, the idea of team work in our house is not new. When there is a task that the kids do not want to do, we try to help out. We reinforce the idea that we are a team and we help each other to get things done. When someone needs help, don’t be afraid to ask for help. When you see someone needs help, go and help them.

2. Ask them for help

We sat down and explained to them why we needed their help. We didn’t just dump a list of chores on them and tell them to do it or else. We showed them a need that they could fill in for us and how much we would appreciate their help.

3. Compensation

Rewards can come in many shapes and sizes. First I always try to remember to show my appreciation to my kids by saying thank you. I tell them they did awesome work and remind them how much I appreciate it. I also reward my kids with stickers that they put on a reward chart that will eventually earn them something like a trip to the movies or a trip to go eat Ice Cream. Financial compensation has not worked for them yet, but as they take on more responsibilities we plan on working in payments as well.  Here is a blog post I wrote about how we encourage our kids to do their chores.

Key Take Away

Need buy in from them. I want their motives to be unselfish. I want them to take ownership so that they learn to do the job well. I want them to feel like what they do has a positive impact on our family. And then I continually reinforce that by praising their work and helping them to get better at it.

Most recently my kids who are ages 6 and 8 have started helping us by unloading and reloading the dishwasher as needed. Although things don’t always get put away correctly, those issues are easy to correct and nothing to complain about because the dishes are all caught up. This small change for us has had a tremendous impact on keeping up with our kitchen. All this because we gave up something we have always done and empowered empowered our kids to help us out.

What chores could your kids be doing to help you out at home?