Chores! Part Four- When Am I Doing Too Much for My Kids?

Katie writes:

I have a five-year-old whom I dearly love, but who can be very emotional at times (it's getting better) and when she feels like doing chores, which is a lot of the time, she's a happy little obeyer (is that a word?) Anyway, when she is not in a happy mood she tends to whine and not want to do them and I feel like I have to nag her to get it done.  Any thoughts?  Also, I have been helping them (my five & three-year-olds) with their rooms a little bit, but now when they don't feel like doing it, they say "Mom come help us" which of course means "Mom come do some of it for us".  I don't want them to think that Mom will just bail them out, so I'm thinking maybe I should just go in and give some kind of verbal direction as to what needs to get done and let them do the work.  Please give me your pearls of wisdom.  Thank you!



If there is anything I struggle with as a mom, it is that focused balance that allows me to realize when I am doing too much for a child or not enough.  But as in everything we face in our Christian walk, this too is about the heart.

If your heart is bent on discipling those little ones, then you can see this as an opportunity to walk alongside.  You could go into their rooms and say, "Let me tell you what I see: I see dirty clothes on the ground, a doll that needs to be put away, Legos that need to be picked up", etc.  You are then giving them the advantage of your adult eyes, but you aren't taking the responsibility of tidying their rooms away from them.

Or you could give them a step-by-step "to do" list.  I often do this with my six and five-year-olds- I'll say, "C, you pick up the dirty clothes and put them in your basket.  A, you pick up all the books and take them to the schoolroom", etc.  I stick around and watch to see if it gets done, or sometimes I'll leave the room to do something else and return when they call me for their next task.

It helps me to remember that they are little wayward sheep and I have been called to be their shepherd.



 Painting benches at family camp

Little chores lead to bigger and better responsibilities,  and with responsibilities come privileges!