What is your morning routine?  Do you get up very early in order to get everything done before everyone has to leave the house?  Do you try to eat while making and serving breakfast to your family, frantically getting backpacks packed, gathering coats, shoes and anything else your children need that day?  Are you constantly telling your child what to do next, trying to get them to move away from a screen and get out the door?

Or does everyone have responsibilities that support the common goal of getting out of the house on time?

Webster’s dictionary defines Community as a group of individuals with common interests living together.

People in a community can work together toward a common goal.  What if your common goal is a harmonious and relaxed household where everyone is contributes? What if you think of your family as a community?

Last month I wrote about the benefits of chores. https://parent-solutions.com/how-can-i-get-my-kids-to-do-chores/.chores

Chores are each person’s way of contributing to your family community.

I recently watched a little boy at a community garden. He had taken on the chore of filling his wheelbarrow with weeds and dumping them into the compost bin. I watched him work, enthralled by his focus, commitment and his work ethic. No weed was left on the path. When another small boy decided to help, the opportunity for learning grew exponentially. They had to communicate and work together.  At one point, the large wheelbarrow got stuck in some soft dirt and they had to figure out how to get it free. They were so proud of their work and I could see in their faces feelings of accomplishment and competence.

These 2 boys had formed a community, working together toward a common goal.  When you think of your family as a community, what are ways all members can contribute?  Are you able to give up some control in order for your child to learn how to be responsible for a chore? Are you able to let your child live with the consequences of his/her actions?  If your child is responsible for putting all of his/her homework into the backpack, can you let go of making sure nothing is forgotten?  The learning comes when he/she forgets an important paper and has to deal with the consequences at school.

You deserve to live in a cooperative, supportive community and your children deserve to learn how to be an engaged and contributing member of your family community.  “As children participate in the life of the family by giving to it, they begin to understand themselves as part of the human family.” Gloria DeGateano, Parenting Well in a Media Age.

It’s becoming common for children to contribute to our larger society with birthday parties where the gifts are for the local animal shelter or lemonade stands where the profits are sent to a neighboring town that was damaged by a storm.  But contributing to community starts at home, in your family, your own personal community.

What are the opportunities for contribution in your family community that you can offer your children?