I’m often startled by how minimal our expectations are on children to give back and to make a contribution to the family. In many families it’s just accepted that children are on the receiving end of parental effort, with very little expectation of the child’s effort in return.
By expecting them to make their contributions I am communicating with my children that I respect their effort, that I trust them to do a good job and that I value them as part of the family team.
When it comes to preparing meals for the family, helping with maintaining and cleaning the home or any of the other myriad tasks it takes to run a household, it’s often not a given that the children in the family are part of the team.In our house children (as young as 5 years old) are in charge of cooking breakfast for everyone, sweeping, cleaning windows, doing the washing and a myriad of other household tasks. When we all go for an outing, the children pack their own bags, and are expected to also pack snacks and drinks for me.
We run our house as a team effort – and I am an equal member of the team that they have a responsibility to provide for, not just take from. This includes the seemingly simple thing of asking me how my day was and showing an interest in what I have been doing.
This shows me that they are aware of me as a person, an integral part of their team.