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We all know of job shadowing in the workplace, but did you also know that job shadowing between siblings is an effective way to create a teamwork environment when it comes to getting household tasks done?
Chores are a necessary part of our home. It is the only way everything can get done, especially because I homeschool. My kids have to do more than many kids do, simply because a larger family has more of everything to do whether food to prepare, laundry to sort, wash, and fold, or things to take things out of the car after an outing with the whole family.
Job shadowing between siblings is a major thing that helps our bustling household run!
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There are so many things that kids can do, and we so easily don’t give them the benefit of the doubt to let them try. If you are perfectionist like I am, it can also be difficult to hand over some work since it might not be done perfectly. Kids taking part in getting the household duties done is so very important, however, and when you have kids who are a bit older as well as children who are younger, job shadowing is a perfect way to train the new recruits.
I did write about how to make cleaning fun for kids, too. That is also a great read full of some creative ideas to get kids on board with pulling their weight around the house.
An important part of how chores work in our family is the younger kids shadowing behind the older ones to learn how to complete the various tasks. As kids get older and have more school and extracurricular responsibilities as well as jobs outside of our home, they work themselves out of some of their chores around the house, which leaves them passing some chores on to their younger siblings.
For instance, our oldest son takes out the trash. Right now our five year old can gather all the trash cans and put them by the door and then put them back again. At times I also have my older son have my younger son trail along with him outside to show him how the trash is dumped. He can’t reach it yet, but he is learning.
Likewise, myself or my older girls will explain to our youngest daughter how we are folding laundry as we fold it so she can learn and watch, making her ready to take over on her laundry and general laundry duties soon.
Shadowing is a challenging thing, however, because the older sibling needs to demonstrate how to do the job correctly, which can be a challenge at times. Of course as the parent you will still need to make the expectations clear and demonstrate how to make a bed correctly for instance, but for the day in and day out your older children do need to “teach” the work correctly.
For us, the younger kids shadow the older ones more than half of the time since there really is no reason not to. This also provides the older child with the opportunity to delegate smaller parts of the task to the younger one. For instance, if my daughter is sorting through the toys to make sure everything is put away correctly and with the correct parts, she can have the younger child put the monkeys in the barrel or whatever.
The nice thing about shadowing is that the younger kids are often all for it since it makes them feel grown up to be taking part in these grown up chores. As the parent you need to play an active role in overseeing the process, but usually the older siblings are more than happy to train younger ones how to take over on their work 😉
Shadowing between siblings has many benefits beyond the younger kids learning how to work. They can also also gain a sense of self esteem as part of the family unit, begin to establish a strong work ethic, and build relationships with siblings in a one-on-one environment.
If you have children who are of an age where shadowing could work and you haven’t trued it yet, you really should…it is so beneficial for everyone!