Posted on: April 26, 2020 at 5:02 am
Last updated: October 14, 2020 at 5:55 pm

For many parents, getting their children to help out around the house can be a major point of contention, that can often lead to frustration, anger, and arguments. One mother, after being inundated with requests from her kids for allowance money and new phones, decided to get a little creative.

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Mom Hosts a Job Fair

Shaketha Marion McGregor is the mother of three children aged six, ten, and thirteen. After receiving multiple requests for allowance, as well as items like cell phones, she decided her kids were going to have to work for their money.

The Georgia mother created a job fair for her company “This Mom Means Business”, and posted “Now-Hiring” ads for three positions: laundry supervisor, lead housekeeper, and kitchen manager. The applicants, her three kids Jahkeem, Takeia, and Serenity, had to fill out application forms and interview for the position they were interested in.

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“I was like I don’t want to just give it to them,” she said. “I want to do something different to make them work for it this time around so they will appreciate it more.” [1]

Read: We Need More ‘Mean Moms’

The Kids Cooperate

Initially, the kids weren’t overly excited about their mom’s “surprise”, but they did get on board. McGregor said that the interviews overall went very well, but her youngest, six-year-old Serenity, was by far the most professional. She said the oldest, her son Jahkeem, couldn’t stop laughing, and that they had a ton of fun.

 “His only questions were, ‘How much do I get paid? How often do I get paid? And do I have to pay taxes?’ It was hilarious.” [2]

The creative mom said that she notices a change in her kids’ behavior when she gives them money as opposed to simply buying things for them.

“They were suddenly checking prices,” she explained. “I noticed they were more cautious because it was their money. They wanted to save.” [3]

This made her want to think of more ways that she could teach her kids about credit, how to budget their time, and to give them the experience of going through a formal job application process.

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“I want them to be a little bit familiar with the process when they are older,” she said. “Whether they’re applying for school or a new job or something, they can look back and say, ‘I did this with mom all those years ago.’” [1]

Read: High School Hosts ‘Adulting Day’ to Teach Students Real-life Basics Before They Graduate

Overcoming Financial Obstacles

Her desire to teach her kids about financial literacy and responsibility was born, in part, out of the financial struggles McGregor has experienced herself. Her battle with cancer in 2016 left her family temporarily homeless, and a house fire one year ago caused them to lose their house and most of their belongings.

During these hardships, her kids had to go without things like allowance and new phones, but now that she has a stable job as a corrections officer for the Georgia Department of Juvenile Justice, she is able to start giving them some of those small luxuries again [1].

Preparing her Kids for the Future

McGregor shared her clever idea on a Facebook post, which has now received over 200 thousand likes, over 35 thousand comments, and has been shared 130 thousand times. She has been praised for her creativity and commitment to teaching her children necessary life skills.

“Adulthood happens and it happens hard and sometimes you’re just not prepared for it,” she said. “As a parent you want to protect your children from as much as possible but you know that eventually they’re going to have to go through it on their own and that’s why life’s greatest lessons are through experience.” [1]

Read: Housework Woes: Simply Having a Husband Could Create 7 Hours of Chores

Five Ways to Get Your Kids Helping Around the House

Motivating your children to help you with chores can be a challenge, so here are some other ways you can encourage them to pitch in:

Work as a team. Everything is more fun as a group, and often your kids are looking for ways to spend more time with you. Put on some music and turn your cleaning session into a party- it is very encouraging for kids to have their parents get involved in a task with them.

Give the choice up to chance. If you find your kids often fighting over who does what, try writing tasks on popsicle sticks and having them pick blindly. Allow your kids to switch chores, but only as long as they both agree- this may even teach them a little something about negotiation.

Make it harder. This may sound counter-intuitive, but giving kids tasks that are too easy is often boring, making them want to do it less. Giving them a job that challenges them is often more rewarding and therefore motivating. If you have to give them an easier job, up the ante by giving them a time-limit or turning it into a competition.

Switch things up. This is another way to fight boredom. If your child’s job is to cook dinner once a week, challenge them to never cook the same thing twice in one month. If your kids are always doing the same chores and you notice they’re beginning to slack, try having them switch tasks for a couple of weeks to give them a change of scenery.

Avoid controlling language. Nobody likes being told what to do, and neither do kids. Giving them some input into what gets done around the house is a great way to motivate them to help out. This can be achieved by using less controlling language, such as “it would be extremely helpful if you…” You can also say things like “Thank you for helping out, our family makes a great team”, to make them feel like they are a part of a larger purpose [4].

Read: Should all children learn sign language?

Education Starts at Home

McGregor shared her idea on Facebook in hopes that she would inspire other parents, and share the message that education starts in the home. She also wants people to realize that education doesn’t have to be boring.

McGregor said that this process has made her realize how much kids just want to be counted and to be a part of something. She encourages other parents to find out what works for their family and really listen to their kids.

“Really talk to your children and see some things that they’re really interested [in] and find out how those can be implemented around the house and into life lessons,” she said [1].

Keep Reading: Children Need Structure More Than Warmth, Says Child Psychologist

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Brittany Hambleton
Team Writer
Brittany is a freelance writer and editor with a Bachelor of Science in Foods and Nutrition and a writer’s certificate from the University of Western Ontario. She enjoyed a stint as a personal trainer and is an avid runner. Brittany loves to combine running and traveling, and has run numerous races across North America and Europe. She also loves chocolate more than anything else… the darker, the better!