Children Who Do Too Little: Why Your Kids Need to Work around the House (and How to Get Them to Do It)


Many parents, rather than fighting their children over chores, would rather do the chores themselves. But Patricia Sprinkle argues convincingly and entertainingly that kids need to do chores. They need to develop basic life skills such as cooking and cleaning. They need to learn responsibility and the value of hard work. In short, they need to learn how to become dependable, capable adults. In Children Who Do Too Little, Sprinkle shows why and how parents should teach their children household skills and gives ...
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Children Who Do Too Little

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Many parents, rather than fighting their children over chores, would rather do the chores themselves. But Patricia Sprinkle argues convincingly and entertainingly that kids need to do chores. They need to develop basic life skills such as cooking and cleaning. They need to learn responsibility and the value of hard work. In short, they need to learn how to become dependable, capable adults. In Children Who Do Too Little, Sprinkle shows why and how parents should teach their children household skills and gives suggestions for making teaching easier. She discusses: - Why we do it all for our children - Guidelines for good family meetings - How to get kids to work - Cleaning tips that make life easier - How to handle the child's own room - Cleaning games to make work fun - The pay-for-work vs. allowance debate.
Complete with a discussion guide, Children Who Do Too Little is a book every parent will benefit from -- and every child as well!

Author Biography: Patricia H. Sprinkle is a freelance writer whose nonfiction books include the companion to this volume, Children Who Do Too Little. She is also a best-selling mystery writer and an active member of Sisters in Crime and Mystery Writers of America. She is a frequent speaker at seminars and women's conferences and lives in Miami with her husband. They have two grown children.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781933523231
  • Publisher: Bella Rosa Books
  • Publication date: 12/28/2007
  • Pages: 200
  • Sales rank: 1,326,700
  • Product dimensions: 0.46 (w) x 5.50 (h) x 8.50 (d)

Read an Excerpt

Session Three




Read Chapters 7 and 8 of this book and become familiar with the suggested session outline below. Think of one time in your life when you had to learn something new. Be prepared to tell about it briefly, if it's needed to stimulate class discussion.



Prayer. Ask for new insight on how to teach your children what they need to know.

Welcome. Ask new class members to tell about themselves and their children, and invite others to tell briefly about their experience in teaching new skills or adjusting their parenting styles in the past week. (Don't let this consume the hour!)



Look at lists on pages 87 and 91. Note:

a. Each list is for a range of ages. Some skills are too difficult for the youngest members of each age range.

b. "Skills" for two- and three-year-olds don't really help the parent, but merely provide a way for a child to work beside the parent. By the time a child is four, however, the tasks are genuinely needed by a family team and are skills a child needs to know.


a. Exercise: Remember a time when you had to learn a new thing. How did you learn it? (Leader may need to begin, in order to spark others' memories.)

b. For discussion: What helps us, as adults, learn something new?

c. Look at "How to Teach a Child a Skill" and read aloud "What Kids Hate" below. Note that children learn the same way adults do: by being told, shown, allowed to try it, supervised, and allowed to fail and try again.

d. Exercise: Ask for two volunteers to teach the class how to wash dishes. Afterwards, as a group, critique their teaching. What did they do well? Not so well? Did they teach the entire process from start to finish?

e. Recap: When teaching, teach skills, not chores; teach skills appropriate to the age and ability of that particular child; and teach complete skills.


Exercise: Assign the following to different members of the group to read and briefly share with the entire class:

Tips to Help Preschoolers Learn

Tips to Help Preschoolers Learn, continued

Have materials in an appropriate size

Work alongside a child

Advance from the simple to the difficult

Teach safety as you teach responsibility

Never redo a job a child has done


a. Point out games under "I'd Rather Be Playing".

b. For discussion: What has worked for families in the class to make learning easier and cleaning more fun?


Close with prayer for each family in the class.


1. Read Chapter 5 for next week.

2. Practice: Try one of the cleaning games from Chapter 8 in your family this week.

Session Four




Read Chapter 5 and become familiar with the suggested session outline below. Ask four or five class members to do the role playing for the group. Assign parts ahead of time so members can study their roles and not start out cold.



Prayer. Thank God together for setting us in families and for giving us the families we have. Pray for wisdom to become a team that supports and nurtures one another.

Welcome. Meet new class members. Ask former class members to share how their cleaning games went this week, or their progress in teaching household skills at home.

Recap. So far the class has learned:

a. Children need to learn skills to care for themselves and the world around them, to learn to serve others, and to learn to be part of a family.

b. Children can often do more than we expect them to do at a given age.

c. Household skills have to be taught; they are not instinctively learned.



a. How many families in the group already have family meetings? Ask any who do to describe what happens and how they are structured. Do they deal just with chores or with other family concerns? How often are meetings held?

b. For discussion: The box "Why Have a Family Meeting?" gives some reasons for meeting together. What value can you see in holding meetings in your own families? What resistances would you run into? How could they be overcome?


a. Role-play a family meeting (10-15 minutes).

Mother: Believes that hers is the only correct way to clean. However, she is convinced that her children need to learn household skills (done her way) and she's also overwhelmed by all she has to do. Prepare ahead by making a list of everything that needs to be done and by reading pages 68 - 70 to give you some ideas of what to say.

Father: Believes housework is women's work, except he is also willing to wash dishes, which he does very well. Otherwise, he feels that earning the living is his share in family responsibilities. However, he is willing to support his wife in getting the children to help around the house. His preferred method of doing that is for someone (himself) to tell them what they are to do each week. Prepare ahead by reading "I Have Too Much To Do" and "It's Your Job".

First child: Very involved in music lessons, sports, and school. Doesn't want to do housework at all. Prepare ahead by reading "I Can't".

Second child: Doesn't mind doing housework, but has own ideas about when and how it ought to be done, and resents being told, rather than asked, to do it.

Situation: A very first family meeting. Mother has called the meeting to present her list of everything that needs to be done to keep the house running smoothly, to ask for help with housework, and to convince the others that the children need to learn household skills. Play out the situation based on how you think your own families would act.

b. For discussion: In what ways was this realistic? Unrealistic? What did the family accomplish? How might they have accomplished more? How might we use family meetings in our own homes?


Thank your local actors.

Pray for each family by name as you seek to become family teams and teach children what they need to know to become mature adults.


1. Read Chapter 9 and reread "A Room of One's Own" on page 95 and "Defusing General Resistance".

2. Practice: Hold a family meeting, if you think your family is ready for one.

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Table of Contents

PART ONE: Why Children Need to Work
ONE: Mockingbirds Don't Stroll, Honey
TWO: Fate of Our Fathers--and Mothers
PART TWO: Why We Don't Make Our Children Work
THREE: Anything You Can Do, I Can Do Better!
FOUR: In My Mother's House...
PART THREE: How to Get Children to Work
FIVE: Start with a Family Meeting
SIX: Teach Skills, Not Chores
SEVEN: Tasks for Appropriate Age Levels
EIGHT: Can Cleaning Be Fun?
NINE: When the Troops Rebel
TEN: Teaching by Consequences
ELEVEN: Bribing Your Kids to Work
TWELVE: Take Your Children to Work
THIRTEEN: Is It Ever Too Late?
FOURTEEN: Why We Parents Have To
Appendix: People Who Shared
Group Discussion Guide
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