Dear Grandparenting: My four grandchildren are taking over my old house and that’s fine and dandy. The grandkids make this house feel like a home again.
I was this close to listing it for sale until my son came up with a deal that made sense for everyone. He and the wife sold their place and moved in and I get financial relief.
I admit to being sort of a “neat” freak. But my son didn’t inherit that gene, and his wife is not that much better. Their place was a mess. I do not mind the grandkids making noise so much as I cannot stand it when things aren’t clean and in their place.
Part of the deal was that my grandkids would lighten my load around the house. Doing chores on a regular basis will be a shock to their system. How can I turn my grandkids (ages 6, 7, 9 and 11) into champs for chores? I don’t want to get into a war over this issue. Morton Smith, Seattle, WA
Dear Morton: Grandchildren are doing fewer chores these days — at least according to those who study this issue — and the main reason is the modern parenting style.
Parents take over when kids have trouble with tasks, and even dual-wage earners end up performing most of the housework. Many parents never assign chores, claiming their children are too busy or doing homework. In one survey of over 1,000 adults, 82 percent said they had regular chores growing up, but only 28 percent give children chores.
We think chores are good for kids. By contributing to routine housework, grandchildren develop greater awareness of the needs of others. Pitching in around the house builds their bond with family members, a sense of belonging that anchors children and helps lower stress.
Doing dishes might not count for much on a resume, but research has confirmed the academic, emotional, and even professional benefits for children tasked with housework. A 75-year study by Harvard University found that children given chores became more independent adults. Applying oneself to tedious duties is a prerequisite for climbing most career ladders.
When it comes time to divvy up the tasks, involve the grandchildren in the process to increase their buy-in. Getting children to do chores is a two-part process: insist and insist again. It takes nagging, and the results probably won’t be up to your standards. Maybe they’ll thank you some day.
GRAND REMARK OF THE WEEK
When Kay Price from The Villages, Florida, thinks about her grandchildren, it reminds her of this thought from Winnie the Pooh: “Some people care too much; I think it’s called love.”
Dee and Tom, married more than 50 years, have eight grandchildren. Together with Key, they welcome questions, suggestions and Grand Remarks of the Week. Send to P.O. Box 27454, Towson, MD, 21285. Call 410-963-4426.