Delegating 101 for Parents

deligate101-choresSometimes it seems like the household chores are never-ending. But before you get too overwhelmed, consider: who said all those chores had to be done by a parent? There are quite a few items on that to-do list that can and should be delegated – as a matter of fact, delegating will help your kids in the long run.

First, consider what your youngest children are capable of doing around the house. Young children often love setting the table and learning where to place the knife, fork, spoon, napkin, plate, and cup. They also like to help with cooking – let them break the spaghetti, stir the soup, or sprinkle the cheese on top.

The sense of contribution is so clear for them. Kids this age can help clear the table and rinse or wash the plates. Some people prefer to load the dishwasher themselves, but why not simply teach your child how to do it? It’s one less thing for you and many hands make a light load.

Small children can help sort laundry and carry it to the laundry room. It may be that you prefer to actually add the soap and select the settings so that those great summer white pants don’t turn pink. But someday your child will make the same mistake – why not learn at home? Folding laundry is something all children can do. Your youngest can begin with simple things like dish towels and socks and then move up to t-shirts, jeans and bed sheets.

Your children should also be able to care for the pets. They can ensure there is food and fresh water available, change the kitty litter, walk the dog, change the water in the fishbowl, and clean that hamster cage.

As your children get older, they can help with yard work. Smaller children make excellent weed pullers and are happy to learn the difference between a weed and a flower. Almost any child can rake leaves or shovel snow. Kids twelve and up enjoy big-kid job of pushing the mower.

Older kids also love learning about cars: how to change the tire, how to change the oil, and so on. They also are ready to help out with ladder-oriented chores such as cleaning the gutters, small roof repairs, sawing branches (with close supervision) and even helping to build a shed or (again with supervision) cut firewood.

The reason for delegating work is two-fold: it helps both you and your children. Your job as a parent is to do those things that only a parent can do: keep your children safe, teach your children to become responsible adults, and give them a strong sense of self-worth.

Delegating household chores will give your children a sense of responsibility, a sense of accomplishment and teach them valuable lessons they will need for adulthood. So, in essence, it’s your job to teach them how to do these chores so that one day they are able to do them. Your children also learn from your example that they should delegate to their own children.