Lately I have had somewhat of an epiphany concerning my kids and chores. I started to realize that my kids are capable of helping out so much more than I was requiring of them. They have their regular “personal” chores including brushing the teeth and hair, cleaning their rooms, making their beds, picking up their toys, etc. I would periodically have them help out with dusting, vacuuming, folding towels and setting the table. So, when Susan Tordella asked me to review her book, Raising Able: How Chores Cultivate Competent Confident Young People, I jumped at the opportunity…talk about perfect timing!
About Raising Able:
This book, Raising Able: how chores cultivate capable young people uses stories, theory and examples to teach parents how to engage 2-to-22-year-olds in working around the home.
Learn how to use family meetings and chores, encouragement, natural and logical consequences, mutual respect and more to teach children self-discipline and to nurture their self-esteem.
Doing a few regular chores such as cleaning toilets, sweeping floors and washing dishes naturally counteract entitlement. Children gain empowerment by doing chores. The parenting strategies in this book will improve your family environment because parents can give up yelling, threatening and bribing children.
Raising Able will prepare your child to grow up and live independently, starting when they’re as young as 2 years old. (cited from the Raising Able Site)
See what else Susan has to say about Raising Able:
Raising Able definitely solidified and confirmed my thoughts about what my kids were capable of…which is so much more than I had been requiring! We did as Susan recommended and had a family meeting to discuss chores. The kids actually wanted to have more chores and were excited about them…not quite what I was expecting! They began volunteering ways that they could help out the family! Even the 2 year olds had suggestions of ways they could help!
Speaking of my little ones, I really appreciated Susan’s chapter on taking time for training. I personally feel that this is one of the hardest things to do in regards to chores, but has the potential for some of the greatest benefits. If I take the time now to invest in my kids and teach and train them, it will hopefully better prepare them for the future as Susan says, “when they are 60 miles away going 60 miles an hour.”
The book is filled with tons of stories and examples of how chores have influenced and benefited the lives of many. While I was impressed with many of the stories, what stuck out to me the most was the parenting analogy of the soggy potato chip law.
Ideally, we all would like a nice fresh crisp potato chip from the top of the bag. However, when a fresh potato chip is not available, we’ll take a soggy potato chip because it’s better than nothing. Likewise with children. Attention for bad behavior is better than being ignored. Aim to give fresh crisp potato chips regularly through positive attention and encouragement. (Tordella, 115)
This reminded me that my kids want my attention at all costs, even if they have to get it via negative behavior. I must be more mindful of this need (especially since I have five little ones vying for my attention all day long) and look for ways to encourage them.
I must admit that my initial thought was that the title, Raising Able, referred to Cain and Able from the Bible. However, the book does not contain any Biblical references. While I did not agree with everything in the book, I still found alot of valuable information that has encouraged me to continue to train my kids so that they can help out around the house even more.
While reading through the book, I did notice some typos. I contact Susan about the mistakes and she assured me that she was aware of them and went to great lengths to eliminate them from the first run of the book.
So, with the birth of my epiphany and the reading of Raising Able, we have started giving the kids a few extra chores (with plans for gradually adding more). My 6 year old daughter now unloads the dishwasher every morning. I cannot begin to tell you how helpful this is for me! My 5 year old boys take out the recycling boxes each day and my 2 year olds help fold the washcloths. Everyone LOVES getting to vacuum with the little Dirt Devil and I have plans for teaching them to clean their bathroom! While this may not sound like much in the way of chores, it is a huge encouragement for me! My kids are capable and willing to help out. I just need to continue to take the time to teach and train them so that they can take on more chores!
Thank you Susan for helping me to kick it up a notch and get my kiddos contributing more to the family!
This book was given to me free for review purposes. I do not have to return the book.. I was not paid for this post. All opinions expressed in this post are mine.