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4 Practical Parenting Tips for Involving Your Children In Household Responsibilities

How-to-involve-your-children-with-these-4-systems

March 14, 2024

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In this part of our three part blog post series, I aim to provide actionable steps that you can directly implement in your life. It’s all about taking the concepts we’ve discussed about involving our children and applying them in practical ways.

I’ll be sharing four effective strategies to get your children actively involved in helping out around the house. Now that we understand the importance of involving our children and the consequences of not doing so, it’s time to focus on the practical steps. We’ve explored the why; now, let’s delve into the how and turn these ideas into actionable practices. It’s time to bring this vision to life and make the magic happen in our daily routines.

How do we transform potentially spoiled or undisciplined children into contributing members of the family, regardless of their age? Whether your child is a toddler just learning to walk and communicate or an older child, the principles we discuss today are applicable to children of all ages. We’ll cover strategies that can be adapted to suit your child’s age and developmental stage, ensuring that every parent can implement these techniques effectively. From 10 months and up, this discussion is relevant to you, offering guidance on fostering a sense of responsibility and cooperation in your children.

Listen Below For The Entire Episode On The Systemize Your Life Podcast

Nurturing A Positive Parenting Mindset

Before delving into the practical steps, it’s crucial to address our own mindset and approach as parents. We must refrain from blaming our children for their behavior. This principle is fundamental in our household, and it’s one that I firmly uphold.

I understand that this concept may not immediately resonate with everyone, and it hasn’t always been easy to accept in our own household. However, I firmly believe that as parents, we are the leaders of our children. While there is an age of accountability, even as adults, we follow the lead of our bosses or leaders at work. Similarly, we serve as the guiding influence for our children, and it’s essential to examine our own behavior when addressing theirs.

I Am In This Too

Once again, I want to emphasize that I’m undertaking this series not just for your benefit, but also for my own. It’s a topic that my family and I have been grappling with extensively lately. Recognizing that we play a significant role in shaping our children’s behavior, we understand that we have the power to influence involving them in our household. Whether the result is positive or negative, we bear the responsibility and have the opportunity to guide our children towards more desirable outcomes.

Let’s dive into the actionable steps to enhance our leadership and guide our children towards taking action. Drawing from my own experiences and insights gained from working with numerous families, I’ve distilled this process into three simple yet impactful strategies to involve your children around the house. These are tried and tested methods that have proven effective in my life and countless others. So, grab a pen and paper because these are key points you’ll want to remember as we navigate this journey together.

“I firmly believe that as parents, we are the leaders of our children.”

Building A Foundation For Involving Your Children By Establishing A Strong Leadership System

The first step towards effective leadership is establishing a robust system that you comprehend fully and have mastered through practice. Leadership cannot flourish amidst confusion, bitterness, forcefulness, or passivity. Often, individuals gravitate towards extremes due to a lack of understanding in finding a balanced approach. It’s essential to bridge the gap between these extremes and operate from a place of clarity and competence.

Reflecting on great leaders I’ve encountered, across various domains such as faith, profession, and athletics, one common thread emerges: they’ve navigated similar experiences and can guide others through them. This principle holds true in parenting as well. To effectively lead and involve our children, we must draw upon our own experiences, demonstrating empathy, understanding, and the ability to navigate challenges alongside them.

Establishing a solid system within the family dynamic is paramount, not only for involving our children but also for maintaining harmony within our household. This system should reflect our strengths, values, and vision for our family. By clearly defining roles, routines, and expectations, we provide structure and stability, fostering a sense of security and confidence among all family members. Moreover, practicing this system consistently reinforces its effectiveness and cultivates a culture of accountability and cooperation.

Clear Communication And Visual Aids Are Keys To Family Involvement

Number two emphasizes the importance of clear communication regarding each family member’s responsibilities for involvement within the established system. This includes utilizing visual aids to ensure understanding and accountability. Personally, I’ve encountered challenges in implementing this step, particularly with the visual aspect. However, I recognize the significance of visual cues in reinforcing expectations and facilitating comprehension, especially for children. As someone with a penchant for structure and determination, I thrive on challenges and take pride in fulfilling my roles as a wife, mother, and homemaker.

However, there came a point where I felt overwhelmed and puzzled by the situation. Despite the genuine love and willingness to help from my family members, including my husband and kids, I found myself feeling worn down and perplexed. It dawned on me that the lack of visual cues and clear communication within our system was contributing to the issue. With our recent move, I had neglected to reinstall our communication board and update the routines for my daughters, despite their expressed desire for it. This oversight highlighted the importance of visual aids in reinforcing the established system and ensuring everyone’s understanding and adherence to their responsibilities.

Once you’ve effectively communicated the system to your family members, the next crucial step is to make it visual if you want to involve your children in the process. To facilitate this, I’ll outline four specific routines that your kids can engage in immediately. These routines are not only age-appropriate but also essential for their development and contribution to the household. By making these routines visual, you empower your children to take ownership of their responsibilities and actively participate in maintaining the family’s daily operations.

Consistency Is The Key to Involving Your Children

The third aspect to consider in enhancing your leadership to encourage your children’s involvement is consistency in following through with expectations every single day until there is buy-in or improvement. This means maintaining the established routines and responsibilities without wavering or compromising until your children fully understand their roles and actively participate in them.

It means once you’ve established the expectation, you consistently uphold it and expect your children to fulfill their responsibilities without complaint or reminders. This process may require persistence and patience, possibly spanning a couple of weeks to a month. However, any sign of inconsistency or weakness on your part will be detected by your children, leading them to exploit those moments to avoid their duties. Therefore, it’s crucial to remain steadfast and resolute in upholding the expectations until they become ingrained habits for your children. This is one of the most important ways for fully involving your children.

Children are adept at sensing any lapses in consistency and will exploit those moments to avoid fulfilling their responsibilities. They rely on our leadership to guide them, so it’s imperative that we consistently show up for them. While it’s undoubtedly challenging, I’ve experienced seasons where I excel in this aspect, particularly during certain times of the day. Factors such as sleep and self-care greatly influence my ability to maintain consistency and intentionality in my parenting approach. By prioritizing our well-being and implementing strategies to support ourselves, we can more effectively involve our children and instill in them a sense of responsibility and accountability.

Involving Your Children In Meal Planning

Before diving into the four routines, let’s briefly discuss an example to illustrate how effective leadership can guide children’s involvement in household tasks. Let’s examine steps one, two, and three in our leadership approach to help children understand their role in contributing to the family.

Let’s consider the example of implementing a meal planning system and how to involve your children in it. Once you have a solid system in place that you understand and have practiced, the next step is to communicate this responsibility clearly with visuals. For instance, using a menu meal planning board displayed prominently on the fridge can visually communicate what’s for dinner each night, facilitating understanding and involvement for everyone in the family.

Using Visuals To Involve Your Children

The responsibility for them lies in participating in the execution of the meal planning system, rather than necessarily being involved in the planning itself. Making this visual involves ensuring that everyone knows how they can contribute to cooking each meal. By having the ingredients, cooking instructions, and assigned tasks clearly laid out on the meal planning board, everyone in the family can easily see their role in the meal preparation process, making it a seamless and efficient operation. This visual representation serves as a staple system in the household, integral to its functioning and success.

To ensure consistent follow-through with the expectation, it’s crucial to be present and ready to cook at the designated time, typically between 4:30-5:00 PM. For families with young children, aiming to be in the kitchen around 4:30 PM is advisable, although adjustments can be made based on individual schedules. The key is to prioritize this time, avoiding distractions such as work or excessive phone usage, and focusing on preparing the meal as planned. By being punctual and fully engaged in the cooking process, you set a clear example for your children and reinforce the importance of fulfilling responsibilities promptly and consistently.  And what could be better than involving your children in helping with dinner?

Engaging Every Family Member: Assigning Responsibilities In The Kitchen

Once you’re in the kitchen and ready to cook, it’s essential to involve every member of the household, including your husband and children. Assign specific tasks to each individual, clearly communicating their responsibilities for the meal preparation. For example, you might say, “Bailey, it’s your turn to set the table. Please get the napkins.” By consistently reminding each person of their role and what needs to be done, you ensure everyone understands their contribution to the process and stays engaged in the task at hand.

It’s essential to recognize that implementing these strategies may require some effort on your part. You may need to invest time and energy into understanding, communicating, and following through with the systems you put in place. Personally, I’ve been having numerous conversations with my husband, Blaine, and my kids about this topic, realizing that it’s an area where I need to focus and improve. For me, it means prioritizing my work blocks and ensuring that I stick to my fundamental needs, especially during my morning and evening blocks, where everyone in the family needs to pitch in.

The purpose of these designated blocks of the day is to lead by example, both for my children and for my husband when he’s home. Since he’s often away, these blocks provide him with insight into how I effectively interact with the kids and manage our routines. It’s an opportunity to demonstrate success and effectiveness in managing our household, ultimately benefiting our family as a whole. We’ve been discussing this aspect extensively lately, and it’s an area where we’re committed to making improvements together to involve our children more.

Involving Your Kids In The Kitchen: The Dinner Routine

Here are four areas where you should definitely involve your children, regardless of their age. Let’s start with the dinner routine. This involves tasks such as prepping food, cooking, setting the table, clearing the table, storing leftovers, and resetting the kitchen. That’s six opportunities for your kids to contribute and learn valuable skills.

My kids have been setting the table since they could barely walk, using stools to reach. Even when they were tiny, I’d place items they could carry on the counter for them to set the table. It’s a fantastic opportunity for them to contribute. My 11-year-old is now cooking with me every night, actively involved in preparing dinner. There are countless examples like these. It’s all about testing and having fun, identifying your kids’ strengths, finding age-appropriate tasks, and giving them responsibility. Sure, there might be some resistance initially, but they’ll come to love it, I promise.

 Involving Your Kids In The Bedtime Routine

The second routine that you should be involving your children in is kids should be helping with the bedtime routine. This includes tasks like brushing their own teeth and flossing, with some spot-checking if they’re young, brushing their hair, applying oils or lotions, using sound machines, reading a book or engaging in a nighttime activity, saying prayers, and then lights out. For a while, I was guiding them through each step, but now I’ve shifted the responsibility back to them.

There are various ways to approach situations where children may not listen or cooperate during the bedtime routine. I’ve had conversations with families who feel they always resort to spanking or threats. If you find yourself in this position, I highly recommend exploring resources like Love and Logic or positive parenting. Ralphie Jacobs is one of the experts whose work I value and recommend. There are plenty of resources available that can guide you towards a more positive and effective parenting approach.

Navigating the bedtime routine can be challenging for many families. If you find yourself struggling with getting your kids to listen or follow through with tasks, I highly recommend prioritizing this area. Addressing challenges in the bedtime routine can have a significant impact on other aspects of family life. Involving your children here can lay the foundation for smoother interactions and routines throughout the day.

Involving Your Kids In Your Before-School Routine

Routine number three is the before-school routine, and it’s a crucial one. This routine encompasses a series of tasks that need to be completed efficiently to ensure a smooth start to the day. From getting dressed to making the bed, brushing teeth, doing hair, filling water bottles, eating breakfast, packing lunch boxes and snacks, putting on shoes, and getting into the car, there are ten essential steps that must happen relatively quickly. If you have multiple children to attend to, managing this routine can be quite challenging. Falling behind schedule or feeling overwhelmed is not uncommon in such situations. However, it’s essential in involving your children to find a rhythm that works for your family, whether it means adjusting the routine or embracing a more relaxed approach to mornings. Remember, there’s no shame in prioritizing functionality over perfection.

It’s incredibly rewarding when your children become actively involved in the morning routine or the before-school routine. My kids have taken on significant responsibilities in this area, and I’m striving to encourage them to handle everything independently. Currently, they manage most tasks on their own, except for my youngest, who still needs a bit of assistance with her hair. While they may require occasional reminders, witnessing their growing independence in handling these responsibilities is truly gratifying.

Involving Your Children In Your After-School Routine

Routine number four is the after-school routine, and here’s how we manage it in our household. As soon as the kids walk in the door, the first step is to wash their hands. It’s an immediate action to ensure cleanliness. Then, I involve my children as we unload their backpacks, put away everything that was inside and store the backpacks in their designated spots. Next, we wash the lunchboxes from that day and prepare them for the next day. However, we actually prep two days’ worth of lunches on the weekends, ensuring we’re ahead of the game for the upcoming school days.

So on Monday when they return home, there’s already lunch prepared and stored in the refrigerator. The lunch they made on the weekend is then washed, repacked, and set aside to be eaten on Wednesday. This precaution ensures we have a backup plan in case we can’t prepare a fresh lunch on a given day. It’s a convenient strategy that simplifies our routine. After sorting out the lunches, the kids have time for homework or free activities until it’s time to start the dinner routine. That’s how our after-school routine unfolds in our household.

Nurturing Family Bonds: Cultivating Purpose And Joy

The essence of family is profoundly special. This series on involving your children has been a journey for me, highlighting the significance of purpose within our household. Our overarching purpose is to inspire and uplift marriages, urging them to live intentionally and passionately during pivotal moments. By doing so, we hope to foster an environment where families can simply enjoy each other’s company and have fun together.

Blaine and I are deeply committed to this mission. I am leveraging my knowledge and passion to empower you through this platform, offering guidance on implementing the systems that have transformed our lives. Our aim is to equip you with the tools to lead an intentional and purposeful life, focusing on concentrated efforts during the AM and PM blocks. This dedication allows us to create space for enjoyment and fun during the rest of our time together as a family.

Empowering Children Through Responsibility: Cultivating Purposeful Homes

Observing your children take genuine pride in their responsibilities, demonstrating ownership and care for their family members, is truly awe-inspiring. As a wife and mother, witnessing this transformation has been one of the most fulfilling experiences. My hope is that you, too, can experience the profound impact of instilling systems in your life and involving your children into them. These systems hold immense power, enabling you to give more to your children and cultivate a home filled with purpose and harmony.

Not only do you deserve relief from shouldering the burden alone, but your children also deserve the chance to learn, grow, and prove their capabilities. It’s a fundamental human desire—to know one’s worth and purpose. By empowering your kids to take on responsibilities, you’re providing them with the opportunity to recognize and embrace their value. Start granting them that opportunity today, right at this moment.

Always A Pleasure…

It’s truly been a profound honor to delve into the topic of parenting with you, viewing it through the lens of systematic approaches. I’m deeply humbled by the tangible actions taken by numerous families sharing their journeys online. If you’ve found value in this series, I encourage you to share it with your network. Whether through social media, text messages, or any platform you use, your support means the world to me. I eagerly anticipate implementing these strategies with my own family and witnessing our children become more engaged, right alongside you.

As you start this journey, I’m excited to hear your experiences and insights. Share them within our vibrant Facebook community or come over and visit me on Instagram. And remember that we would LOVE to see you inside of Systemize Your Life as a VIP student!

Until next time….

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Frequently Asked Questions

I love these starting points. You mentioned this is part of a series?

Yes! Check out the other blog posts that are a part of this series: Empowering Children: Transforming Household Chores Into Growth Opportunities And Help Your Kids Thrive With Challenges.

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