5 Things Moms Should Never Feel Guilty About

Things Moms Should Never Feel Guilty About

Some moms do guilt better than others, but most feel like they have not done all they can at some times.  Before you beat yourself up much, remember, you are not SuperMom, we’re all just humans, and, as humans, we make mistakes, errors in judgment, and do some silly things sometimes.  Be kind to yourself.

Where to Start?

There is so much to feel guilty about for most Moms so picking five is hard, but here goes.

  • Realizing you don’t have it all together.  You see other moms who seem to be skipping through life with not a care in the world.  Her house is immaculate, her baby happy and precocious, dinner on the table at 6 sharp, and she still has time to attend to her husband’s marital needs.  Either you are hallucinating, she is very good at keeping up appearances, or you are delusional. During stressful times, it is easy to fall into the trap of thinking everyone else’s life is perfect, but it’s not.  We all are out there trying to do things the best we know how and, many times, flying by the seat of our pants.  If the house is a wreck, if you never get dressed, if dinner comes from the freezer section don’t sweat it.  The fact is, even if it feels like this time lasts forever, it doesn’t.  Some day your house will be restored to order, but enjoy this time as much as you can.  You’ll never get it back.
  • Not volunteering for the PTA or other school functions like field trips.  I know you want to volunteer, but to be honest, sometimes you just don’t feel like heading a committee, corralling 20 students around the zoo, or hanging 5,000 streamers.  You just don’t.  Once in awhile it’s good to give another parent a chance to step up and help.
  • Scheduling birthday parties outside of your home, meaning Chuckie Cheese, McDonalds, roller rink, whatever.  If you have no desire to clean your house top to bottom, plan, decorate, schedule, invite, hire entertainment, and buy a ton of food, don’t feel bad.  You and your counterparts are keeping various establishments in business, helping the economy, and creating jobs for teenagers.  It’s practically philanthropic!
  • Allocating dinner time to your sitter.  Every mom wants to make healthy homemade food for her family, but some just don’t have the time.  Once kids are older there is school and homework and bedtime, etc.  In the interest of eating before midnight, getting homework done and keeping your sanity, speak with your sitter to see if she would be amenable to making dinner in exchange for a few more dollars in her pocket.  If you don’t have a sitter at home, check into meal services in your area.  A popular service is similar to catering, but involves someone coming into your home once a week, preparing family meals to be frozen with directions on how long to cook, etc. so you can pop it in as soon as you get home.  Or try some Crockpot dinners for a ready meal.
  • Being too tired for story time every night.  Sometimes everything seems to get crazy all at one time.  The kids are in a play at school, they are involved in sports, you have to work overtime, and your husband is out of town, phew!  That’s a lot going on.  At the end of these kinds of days, it’s no shame for you to want an early bedtime for the kids and a glass of wine for you.

Things will happen, or not.  It doesn’t mean you are a bad mother because things get mucked up here and there.  Millions of children around the work are being raised by fallible humans, and turning out just fine.  Don’t sweat the small stuff.  Kids will remember the good times and forget the rest.

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When is a child old enough to cross the street alone?

When is a child old enough to cross the street alone

The first time that you drop that little hand and allow your precious offspring to cross the street alone you feel like your heart is going to beat out of your chest, but Junior has to grow up so if you don’t want to be holding the hand of an 18-year old while crossing, there has to come a point you decide he is old enough to let go.  But just what is this magical age?

Maturity

In most situations, there are some factors to consider beyond the child’s age because not all children of the same age are ready to tackle a challenge like crossing the street alone.  Every child is a unique human being with different levels of maturity, training, and experience, so each case must be examined individually.

As a parent, you are in the best position to determine the answer to the question of when is a child old enough to cross the street alone.  You alone have the knowledge of your child’s maturity and whether he or she is capable of being cautious enough to cross the street safely.  Trial runs are a good way to teach and give experience with you as a safety net.

Responsibility

Does your child understand the dangers?  You can teach safety without making your child excessively fearful.  Set some rules and make sure your child understands the rules and agrees to follow your direction. Spend some time learning the safety rules while out walking with your child.

As the two of you walk discuss safety rules, teach children the proper use of crosswalks if your neighborhood has these, and take time to point out what you observe regarding the cars and people on the street.  If you see drivers behaving unsafely, point this out to your child and explain the dangers.

Ask your child to observe the traffic and point out safe and unsafe drivers and situations.  Explore crosswalks with your child explaining how to use the crosswalk and other safety measures, such as not being distracted with a cell phone or earplugs while crossing and to be aware that caution is needed even when the walk signal is displayed.  Distracted drivers can easily run a red light.

Cutting the Apron Strings

There will come a time, whether we are ready or not, that our children will begin to venture out on their own a little farther each time until they fly away for good.  As sad as that might make you feel, you know it’s your job to make them self-reliant and ready to take on the world.  The only question is when will that be?

Experts say that the age to start allowing kids out alone is 11; however, as a parent, being allowed to go it alone at 11 has some specific limitations and conditions.  In a neighborhood with no through traffic, only neighbors and visitors passing through, and equipped with sidewalks, 11, or even slightly younger, is a fairly safe proposition.  However, if we are dealing with busy highways and heavy traffic, I would say 13 might be a better age.

In the end, no matter how much we try and want to protect our children from harm, we know that some day we will have to allow them to strike out on their own, even if it is just across the street.

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What’s the Going Rate for Babysitters?

What’s the Going Rate for Babysitters

Babysitter’s salaries have come up in the world since I was working as one, back in the day.  I remember getting paid $1 per hour and slightly more for more than one kid.  I suspect teens would laugh at that today; not unkindly, but because they would surely think I was kidding.

You might be new to the babysitter hiring/paying concept and there is a lot of information on the web, but with so much info and so little time, we have done your research for you compiled some guidelines to go by.

The Going Rate

There is a wide variance between rates that depends on the circumstances such as location; babysitting in areas with a higher cost of living will command a higher pay rate for sitters.  Expect to pay more in New York and San Francisco than in Kansas or North Carolina.  A realistic per hour range is about $5 to $12 per hour.

Another factor is experience.  Adult professional nannies or daycare personnel would earn more per hour, around $10 per hour, than a high school student wanting to earn a little spending money, who may reasonably be paid from $4 to $8 per hour.  The number of children and their ages is a factor as well.  For instance more and younger children equal more work, equals more money.  Most sitters will be satisfied with an extra $1 per hour per extra child or an additional $2 per hour for children under 3.

Usual babysitting hours are around 8 am and 10 pm; if you need a sitter to work before or after these times, you can expect to pay around $2 more per hour.  Some situations are above the norm, such as caring for disabled or special needs children, housework, shopping, or cooking.  Extra work merits a higher rate, also.  You can add at least an extra $2 per hour, but to be fair, discuss this with your sitter.  Keep in mind when calculating cost, that teens paid in cash do not have to pay taxes on their earnings if less than $600 per year, so they get more from their wages as would a full time worker.

Dollars and Sense

Another mitigating circumstance is affordability, meaning if paying a sitter is so high you cannot afford to go out, other solutions should be explored.  This situation requires some negotiating.  Perhaps swapping childcare with another Mom you know will help, but even if you are set on hiring a teen, you can perhaps work out wages in the form of some benefit besides cash, or some type of barter system such as loaning your car as partial payment for services rendered, or allowing the use of your pool for a party.  Consider what you might have of value you would be willing to trade, like movie tickets or use of a Netflix account.

Another option is to provide a service without charge, for example, a hairdresser could offer to cut, color, or style hair or a manicurist could offer manicures and pedicures; you get the idea.  Whatever your situation, it is best to discuss pay rates upfront to avoid any misunderstandings and ensure neither of you feels short-changed.

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How to Raise a Polite Preschooler

How to Raise a Polite PreschoolerIt seems that politeness and courtesy have gone out of style, and the teaching of such things has gone right with it.  Everywhere you turn you see temper tantrums, and children running with abandon through stores and restaurants, their hapless parents seemingly unaware or unconcerned that their offspring are behaving atrociously and annoying everyone simply trying to eat or shop.

The problem is rampant permissiveness to do as they will without consequences, either because it is too much work to correct or too little courage to enter into a battle of wills with a child, but parents who won’t teach politeness are doing their children a disservice.

Respect

Children must be taught to respect others – their property, their space, their right to eat without being stared at by the child in the next booth.  Realize that respect is a two-way street.  One way to teach respect is to offer it in return.  I cannot tell you the number of times my children have nearly been run over by a shopping cart steered by some adult who thinks it is acceptable to push a child aside or cut them off.  This is a great opportunity to point out that such behavior is rude and should not be done by anyone.

If I am going to instill respect for others, I must be the example.  A couple of rules of the house are as follows: if my bedroom door is closed, you must knock and await an invitation to enter; children are not allowed to take or use something that belongs to another person without permission.  These rules are not only for the children but for the parents also to lead by example.

Please and Thank You

The teaching of polite behavior must begin as early as possible in order to be retained and ingrained.  When someone offers you something, be it a cookie, a compliment, or a seat, say thank you.  I have heard others denigrate this method, saying it is not teaching politeness but rote behavior with no association of a social obligation attached, but I disagree.  If you are making a request, say please.  This shows the concept of equality between the parties involved.  A demand signifies entitlement as does receiving a gift or service without acknowledging it as such.

Social Graces

A parent’s job is to instill good values and societal graces.  Your child needs guidance, not a best friend.  Failing to teach good manners is setting up a child for failure in relationships with other adults and children.  There seems to be at least one child in every group that no one wants to play with because of the child’s attitude and one that defies teachers and administration personnel as well, which can cause isolation – from others and from the class as disciplinary measures escalate, eventually leading to suspension and/or expulsion.

What sort of adults will these children be?  Becoming socially acceptable can very well come later in life when the results of bad behavior lead to a desire to be accepted, but it is a long hard road that no parent wants to subject their child to.  A parent who teaches good manners and polite behavior are setting their children up to succeed in life and polite society.

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Am I a Bad Mom Because My Kid Can’t Tie Her Shoes?

Am I a bad mom because my kid can’t tie her shoes

There are many mom-ish things that moms admittedly don’t want to do or don’t admit and make excuses for.  Mine was potty training so my kid was three years old still in diapers, and, when I asked her, when are you going to use the potty, she replied, “when you get me underwear.”  Precocious, right?  And that actually worked.  She used the potty and never had an accident.  Go figure!

Why Resist?

Learning to tie shoelaces is an exercise in patience, repetition, and more patience.  But many moms, even though they know how to tie shoelaces, may not remember the way they learned it and have no idea who to teach it.  Fortunately in the age of the internet there are numerous tutorials, both video and blog on this very subject.

Why is it though, that kids aged eight and beyond do not know how to tie shoelaces?  Experts suggest that due to the popularity of Velcro and slip-on shoes, moms and kids alike have never seen the need, and it only becomes a glaring omission in early childhood training when we confront a pair of kid shoes with laces, coupled with a lack of motivation to put yourself through this endeavor without an immediate need.  In many cases, the deciding factor was a pair of shoes, be it a gift or a choice, with the dreaded laces.

How to Proceed

Many moms choose to do the tying themselves, thus avoiding one more day without a struggle with laces – buying time to get her courage up!  Naturally mom knows that eventually the day will come with a need for lacing knowledge.  You can employ the old double bow to avoid accidental untying, but what if she has to take her shoes off without you around, like in school or at a friend’s?

This will most likely be a wake-up call when both you and she are embarrassed by her lack of knowledge resulting in a third party intervention.  Once you have reached the inevitable decision, you have to choose a method for training.  You can demonstrate on her shoe, or yours, give her a random shoe to practice on, or purchase a special “book” with shoelaces meant to teach tying skills.  Just add it to the nightly routine.

Too Much Mollycoddling?

We’re all shocked when we hear of the 10 or 12-year old whose mother still bathes him or does his homework and projects.  Most likely this fictional mom is simply showing her love and devotion to her son by taking extra good care of him, but not realizing he needs to learn to walk before he can fly.  If not, he has a good chance of living in her basement all his life.  None of us wants that.

So, what’s a mom to do?  First of all remind yourself you are an excellent mom, the shoe issue notwithstanding.  I mean it’s not like you still feed him or anything, or still use diapers.  You covered the big stuff so don’t sweat the small stuff.  And, if you just can’t conquer the task, delegate it to your husband, mom, or older child, and just keep moving in concentric circles till you find the one – the one who can help to fill this tiny gap in skills.

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Exciting Weekend Getaways for the Entire Family

If you’re deciding to plan a weekend getaway for your family there’s a few things to take into consider. You want to think about your budget and what season it is. Also, do you want to relax by the water or go on an adventure? We’re here to help you decide on an exciting weekend getaway the entire family will enjoy.

Cape Coddler Resort & Spa

This place is perfect for a nice relaxing weekend. The have a huge indoor pool the kids will absolutely love. They also have indoor water slides. The kids can splash and play while the adults relax by the pool with a cold drink.

There are a lot of fun activities to partake in too, which include volleyball, massages, dining and bonfires. Their rooms start at $159 a night so it’s definitely budget friendly. This resort is located in Cape Cod Massachusetts which is home to mouthwatering seafood. Whatever your dreams may be this is a nice peaceful place to take the family.

Exciting Weekend Getaways for the Entire Family

The Crawford Hotel

Located in Denver Colorado the Crawford hotel is an awesome spot for a weakened getaway. The views from the rooms of the city are breathtaking and the entire family will love to watch the changing scenes of the bustling city.

The rooms in the hotel are uniquely decorated and equipped with beautiful mahogany wood. They are also equipped with free WIFI, large flat screen TV’s, an in room iPad and fitness center. You’ll be treated like luxury and never want to leave.

You’re able to access the city’s train easily and explore the gorgeous city of Denver. Enjoy a site-seeing weekend getaway in Denver all while being adventurous and trying out some of the tasty diners and pubs.

Stowe Mountain Lodge

Located in Vermont this lodge is one of the most popular ski resorts on the East Coast. It offers breath taking views so make sure you bring a camera to capture life long memories.

This gorgeous resort is a luxury getaway that will be unforgettable. The rooms are equipped with floor-to-ceiling windows with panoramic views. The kids will love all the sites and the adults can enjoy a romantic evening. Some rooms offer a large relaxing tub so make sure you ask for that. Soak away all your worries and relax at this amazing resort.

Each room is equipped with a lovely stone fireplace, small kitchen and even a dishwasher. You’ll be able to take care of all your cooking and laundry right from your room. Rooms start at $179 a night so you won’t have to worry about breaking the bank either.

Enjoy skiing, hot chocolate and visiting the Art Gallery all at Stowe Mountain. The entire family will be thanking you years to come.

Enjoy the perfect exciting weekend getaway at these amazing destinations. No need to spend thousands of dollars and travel outside the country for a memorable vacation. Spend a weekend just a few hours from home the entire family will love.

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How to Be a Good Role-Model for Your Family

Research has shown time and time again that young people look up to their parents as a role-model and someone to follow by example. Almost half of the teens in our country say that one of their parents are their role-model and the other half say it’s a close famiy member.

With so many young people watching our every move we need to lead them by example and guide them into making smart decisions. It’s important to be the best role-model you can especially since so many young eyes with undeveloped brains are watching you and learning from you. With these tips you’ll be the role-model you want to be and your family needs.

Sharing Your Values

Don’t assume that your family, especially your children, know all the values you agree on when it comes to your family. You need to teach them that your family won’t tolerate drug use, alcohol use or disrespectful behavior. Some crucial values to teach are honestly, responsible and reliable. Remember to always lead by example too. If you’re teaching one thing to your family you need to be doing exactly what you’re teaching. They will follow in your lead.

How to Be a Good Role-Model for Your Family

Self-Respect and Self-Esteem

Make sure you are taking excellent care of yourself first. Your family will notice that and want to take good care of them also. Teaching your family how to properly eat a healthy diet, get sleep and exercise will imprint self-respect early on which will lead to a higher self-esteem. Your children will imitate you so always remember to evoke positive behaviors.

Share Success and Failures

It’s okay to let your family know when you have failed at something. It’s important to let your children know that they can’t always be successful in everything they do. Teaching them that giving their all in everything they do will help them realize that failing sometimes is okay. Just pick it up and try again. You’re also teaching your children that mistakes happen and can actually give you an important lesson. Mistakes open the door for opportunities of learning. If you’re showing them this behavior on top of teaching them they will understand that mistakes and change happen. It’s part of life.

Show Your Love to Each Member of the Family

Eventually showing your love to each member of the family will teach your children that everyone in the family is equal and each person deserves the same treatment. Teach your children that spending time with each other is fun and should be valued. Taking a genuine interest in each person’s life and school activities will teach your children that they are valuable and important to you. Spending time with each child is the easiest way to gain their respect and trust.

Being a positive role-model for your family is important and shouldn’t be taken lightly. It all starts with how you treat yourself and each member of the family. Provoke positive words, emotions and love and your family will lead by example.

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Teaching Your Kids How to be Responsible From a Young Age

Teaching Your Kids How to be Responsible From a Young Age

Parenting is a challenging chore for every parent, no matter your passion or commitment to giving all that you have for the best of your kids.  This is because the best may not always seem like the best to your kids and you have to stay committed to what you know is good for them even when they aren’t happy about it.  One of these things is teaching them responsibility.  However, we have a few fun suggestions for how you might teach your kids to incorporate responsibility from a young age without them realizing that you are gradually building upon this life-essential skill.

 

Taking Responsibility for Yourself

Picking Up Toys and Flushing the Toilet

The first responsibility that most of us learn in life is how to take care of ourselves.  This is something that you can start with your kids even before they walk or talk!  You may not do this every time, but engage your kids in the tasks of taking responsibility for themselves.  Pick just a few tasks while they are still under a year old, but you can incrementally add to the list as they grow older and more capable.

Here are a few ideas:

  • Picking up toys
  • Make their beds
  • Brush their teeth
  • Putting dirty clothes in the hamper
  • Learning to fold and put away clean clothes
  • Bringing dirty dishes to the sink
  • Wiping up spills and cleaning up messes

Taking Responsibility for Others

Understanding Family and Teamwork

The next task in responsibility is in learning to care for others, whether it is another family member, a friend or one of your pets.  Again, many of these suggestions can be started while your kids are still toddlers and beginning to grasp the concepts of others.  Not only that, but toddlers are quite eager to help with many chores and you may find that teaching them responsibility in these ways also conveniently combine with other learning goals such as colors, shapes, animals, and so on.  While they are still young they may only be helping with these tasks, but soon they will be able to do the whole task all by themselves!

  • Here are some ideas in this category:
    Empty small trashcans
  • Empty the dishwasher of non-breakables
  • Sort dirty laundry by darks and lights
  • Feed and water family pets
  • Water plants
  • Put groceries away

 

Responsibility for Choices

Understanding Destructive vs. Productive

Choices can be destructive and create more work or they can be productive and make good use of time, energy and resources!  Whether you are trying to teach your kids to take responsibility for fixing their destructive choices or you are trying to teach them how to make productive choices, you can still start teaching them these things at a very young age!  Teach them to learn from their mistakes, remember to praise them when they make good choices, and always lead by example!

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Creating Great Family Memories: How to Have the Perfect Low Budget Holidays

Creating Great Family Memories: How to Have the Perfect Low Budget Holidays

Great memories are made out of great experiences, not just great events.  When it comes to creating great family memories, the goal is not necessarily to overspend your budget paying for “name-brand” events; instead, you can create an unforgettable array of family experiences even while on a low budget.  Let us give you a few pointers and you will soon be making magical family memories of your own, no matter what the holiday, no matter what the budget.

 

Time Connecting

The Essence of Family

Every child intuitively knows what we often quickly forget in the hustle and bustle of growing up: family is the enjoyment of being together.  However, it really isn’t as complicated as marketing strategies would have us think.  It really doesn’t take an elaborate meal that was costly to your budget, not to mention the hours you spent in the kitchen nor does it mean that you have to fund Santa, Uncle Sam, or the Easter bunny several hundred dollars for each of their respective holidays.  Family starts with simply being together and enjoying those moments.

 

Time Remembering

The Essence of Tradition

Why do we enjoy tradition so much?  We think that tradition is not simply a way of doing things every holiday, but a way of remembering the best of who you are as a family and celebrating that.  And you have the freedom to create your own traditions according to the beauty you see in your family – and according to your budget, as needed.  Planning low-budget traditions does not have to mean that you value your family any less.  In fact, sometimes we work to simplify our traditions so that we can focus more on the enjoyment of family and love and laughter and remembering who we are and who we still want to become.

 

Time Well-Spent

Great Family Memories on a Low Budget

Ultimately, your goal for your family is to make time together to celebrate who you are together.  However, you may feel lost in coming up with some good starter ideas to do that, especially when you may also be overwhelmed with the pressure of costly commercial traditions.  So, here are a few ideas that we hope will spark your own creativity in making great family memories while on a low budget.

  • Every community generally has several free events over the holidays, such as parades, music events, fireworks displays, and other commemorative festivities.
  • Inexpensive crafts such as making paper snowflakes together, homemade Valentines, or carving pumpkins.
  • Thrift stores are usually overloaded with last year’s decoration or costume castoffs!
  • Affordable family events such as a potluck brunch on Easter, a picnic on the fourth of July with sparklers or a New Years neighborhood party with leftover holiday goodies.
  • Giving simple gifts with an elaborate treasure hunt or giving gifts of time and services.

These are just a few ideas that we hope will inspire you and always remember, enjoying time together is the key!

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An Easy way to Divide House Work Between the Entire Family

An Easy way to Divide House Work Between the Entire Family

Besides building responsibilities and character in children, dividing household chores can be a daunting task for parents. Yet, it can be easily done by way of lists and charts, and displaying it in the common area, such as the kitchen or a copy in everyone’s room. It should be listed with the typical chores that every family can live with and not feel threatened by work overload for each individual: adults and children.  The common problem with telling a child or teen what to do usually leads to fights or conflicts among family members, especially teenagers and this -- alone -- can be a common culprit. It can also lead to marriage conflicts.

 

Chore Charts Are a Great Way to Visually be Seen By Everyone

It's useful to create a chore chart that will work for your household. Some items on the chore chart will probably be standard, and others will be specific to your home. You and your spouse need to sit down together to make a list that will work for both of you. If you are currently doing the majority of the housework, your spouse may not be so enthusiastic about working out a new system with you. But if there is resentment on your part, then you need to explain this to your spouse.

So, by following common household chores, such as kitchen, bedroom, living room, bathroom, and even outside, for instance, here are some of the typical lists of duties a household can divide amongst family members regardless of age:

 

The Typical Household List for All to Share

First of all, the kitchen is one of the most used areas in a house that is utilized by all besides the bathroom.  Some common chores are as follows:

 

  • Meals, planning and preparing are a daily activity. But it can be split into weekly or weekends only.  Also, setting and clearing the table with dishwashing or loading the dishwasher.
  • Also cleaning and organizing counter space and stove top, drawers, and cupboards. Cleaning the refrigerator and freezer, cleaning the sink and microwave.
  • Next are the bedrooms which each individual should be responsible for. Such as making his/her own bed, picking and putting away clothes and cleaning out his or her own closet, dresser, work area and for the little ones, picking his or her toys.
  • The bathrooms are another area that needs cleaning weekly. Such as the shower and tub, toilets, counters, mirrors, drawers, and cupboards.
  • Next is the family areas: picking up toys, books, organizing bookshelves, clean/dust top surfaces…etc., and also, the laundry room, such sorting them into loads, washing and drying, folding and putting away, for instance.
  • Never forget the floors since this is needing sweeping and mopping at least a week or so, and vacuuming, shampooing carpets, and waxing…
  • Some other areas that need attention for the entire household is taking the garbage out, taking care of family pets, washing windows, pool cleaning, and garage cleaning.
  • Also, what can be put on the chart of things to do for dividing household chores are washing and vacuuming vehicles.
  • Garden work should not be left out. For instance weed eating, planting or picking flowers, mowing the lawn, raking leaves, shoveling snow…etc.

 

Team Work will Indefinitely Be Built with Sharing Chores

Finally, utilizing a list or chore chart is a great way to begin the journey of sharing duties and responsibilities between family members. The best way to encourage and motivate children to do their chores is to encourage their behavior with the most positive feedback. This will bring out a rewarding feeling for each individual. Keep in mind that each calendar or chart should have weekly or daily chores as well as the list of chores in each bracket.  There is no better way to encourage and track good behavior than to use a reward chart. Parents and children will get the most out of sharing chores together that will also bring a team work element into the entire family as well as building a great foundation of closeness, and of course cleanliness.

 

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