It’s time to take a look at reducing parents’ homework.
What Is the Problem and How Can We Reduce Parents’ Homework?
We have already discussed some of the common communication gaps that naturally occur among busy families: families who are juggling the responsibilities of 1 or 2 jobs, school, homework, house-hold management, extra-curricular activities, family and social obligations, etc. With so many competing priorities, it is very easy to see how communication can break down.
As the “head of the household” you carry the lion’s share of the burden for these priorities. Meanwhile, the rest of your family is likely unaware of the juggling act that you are struggling to maintain.
Once, when I was in 7th or 8th grade, my mom must have thought that I was being a bit bratty and demanding of my dad’s time. “You know,” she said, “Your father takes a lot of time to drive you around. You need to be more patient and more grateful for the time he gives up to help you.”
I was utterly shocked by this realization…that Dad had a life and concerns outside of being my chauffeur. I thought I was a fairly kind and considerate child/young adult, but that moment was an eye-opener for me. I had truly never thought about Dad’s perspective before.
The same thing is true for most children. We are born as ego-centric creatures and it takes a lot of time and guidance before we grow out of that narrow focus. Your children are probably just as unaware as I was of the number of things you do for them – directly and indirectly.
Why Is This Happening?
Somewhere, somehow, messages in our society have led us to believe that we have to be “super parents” and do everything for our families. When did we lose the idea that we can delegate tasks and share some responsibilities?
What Can Be Done About it?
My grandmother had seven children. She taught all of them -4 boys and 3 girls- how to cook, clean, and sew from a very young age. She expected each of them to contribute to running their home.
And, she empowered.
She expected each of them to learn how to be productive members of her family as a way of teaching them how to be productive members of society.
Transferring tasks to your children is a win-win situation for both of you and the best way to reducing parents’ homework. You win because you get some help. Your children win because they have the opportunity to develop some responsibility. You can start small…have them make the phone call to a friend to see if they can get a ride to soccer practice or fill our their lunch menu for the week and calculate the cost.
This process may seem a little daunting at first, but once you start thinking about it, you will probably begin to notice little ways you can pass tasks on to them. SOAR Study Skills program also includes simple routines for a more “systematic” transfer of responsibilities of various age-appropriate tasks.
Children of all ages enjoy feeling like a productive member of the family. As a result, you will have happier, more cooperative children…and a little more free time.
Susan Kruger is the author of SOAR Study Skills; A Simple and Efficient System for Earning Better Grades in Less Time. Get Susan’s FREE Guide, Six Steps to Conquer the Chaos: How to Organize and Motivate Students for Success, at her website, http://studyskills.com/. She also likes writing about reducing parents’ homework.