Dear Grandparents: My three grandchildren have come to stay for as long as it turns out to be, and it’s fine and dandy. The children make this old house a home.
I was about to list the house until my son came up with a plan. He and his wife sold their house and moved in with me. I receive financial aid.
I admit to being a “cleanliness freak”. My son did not inherit this genetic trait and his wife is not doing much better. Their place was a general mess. I’m telling you this because part of the deal was for the grandkids to help me around the house on a regular basis.
Getting these kids to do chores will be a shock to their system. I don’t want to go to war over this, so how can I get my grandkids (ages 7, 9, and 10) to get into the habit of doing what needs to be done here? Billie Johnson, Leesburg, Florida
Dear Billie: Children do less chores these days according to those who study the matter, and the big reason will surprise you.
The culprit is modern American parenting. Fearing that their children’s busy schedules would leave them with little free time, the parents stopped giving them household chores. In a survey of more than 1,000 adults, 82% acknowledged having chores growing up. That said, only 28% of those 1,000 saw fit to assign chores to their own children.
We think chores are good for kids. Regularly contributing to the common good helps children become more aware of the needs of others and facilitates bonding with other family members – a sense of belonging that helps ground children and reduce stress.
And while doing the dishes doesn’t count for much on the resume, research confirms the academic, emotional, and even career benefits for kids tasked with household chores.
Involve your grandchildren in the process of creating a schedule of who does what chores and when. By including their contributions, you increase their support. In our experience, overcoming the obstacle in this regard is a two-part process: insisting and insisting again. Yes, it may take time. Maybe they will thank you one day.
Big note of the week
CJ Brooks of Syracuse, New York weighed in with this great advice:
“Grandchildren are great imitators. That’s why I do my best when we’re together. Maybe that will inspire them to clean up their act.
Dee and Tom, married for over 50 years, have eight grandchildren. Together with Key, they welcome questions, suggestions and big comments of the week. Send to PO Box 27454, Towson, MD, 21285. Call 410-963-4426.