How Housebound Kids Can Be Happy Kids

And let the beauty of the Lord our God be upon us: and establish thou the work of our hands upon us; yea, the work of our hands establish thou it. – Psalm 90:17

In light of recent events, we consider ourselves fortunate that we’ve been a home-schooling family for twelve years and are used to being at home much of the time. As well, my job as a freelance writer has always been from home, and my husband’s second job, teaching English to Chinese students, is also home-based. (He is a full-time fireman as well.)

Thank the Lord for the Internet! I can’t imagine how we’d function without it.

Our current housebound situation reminds me of our lives ten years ago, when our oldest two children were young and I didn’t get out of the house very often. During long winters of home schooling little ones, my husband and I learned that keeping our kids busy meant keeping them happy.

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Now that all of our extracurriculars have been postponed, we’ve been reverting back to some of our tried-and-true methods from those days.

Because our teenagers won’t be working for the next couple of months at their part-time job in town, my husband and I have offered to pay them for jobs at home – and in a house that’s always undergoing some sort of small renovation or cleaning project, inside and out, there is plenty of work to do.

My ten-year-old can’t quite manage some of the things my teenagers can, but he gets great satisfaction from organization and cleaning projects.  For example, he and I are going to clean, organize, and de-clutter his room together this week. When we work together, I try not to bulldoze his ideas (which is difficult for micromanaging me)! I want him to enjoy the process, not resent it.

When assigning jobs to our children, we make a list of job options and allow them to choose the order in which they would like to do them, and we give them a general timeframe in which we would like the tasks completed.

Allowing them to manage their time has taught them not to procrastinate (and it has taught me not to nag).

When they are unfamiliar with a certain task (for instance, when my oldest son took over the management of our outdoor wood  boiler, by which we heat our water and our house) we take the time to teach them how to do it – though at times it has seemed as if it would be easier to just do it ourselves. But it has always proven worthwhile to make that initial investment of time.

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When our kids are comfortable doing a task, we try not to micromanage them, letting them learn from their mistakes if at all possible.

Through that process, our kids have become capable, confident, independent, and adept at the many tasks required to manage a rural home.

Most important, they are generally cheerful and content.

The father of the righteous shall greatly rejoice: and he that begetteth a wise child shall have joy of him. – Proverbs 23:24

Whatever tasks we ask our kids to do, we often work alongside them. Working as a family makes for quick and pleasant work. No one enjoys facing a massive job alone!

When our kids were younger and had smaller jobs, we often set a timer for a short time and asked that they perform the task (reading aloud, studying a Bible verse, cleaning their rooms, folding laundry, etc.) for that amount of time. Then, they could take a break and enjoy a reward or play outside for another set amount of time before returning to the task or starting another. This approach saved many an elementary school day from disaster!

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No matter the size or importance of the task that our kids take on, we always let them know how much we appreciate their efforts, and how vital their contributions are to maintaining our home and making it a beautiful and pleasant place to live.

As I mentioned before, we pay them wages, but we also try to speak their individual love languages. For my youngest, that means lots of quality time and praise. For my teens, that means offering them trust, respect, independence, a listening ear – and maybe a healthy sweet treat or two.

And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. – Ephesians 6:4

Are you housebound? How are you managing your days? I welcome your input.

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18 thoughts on “How Housebound Kids Can Be Happy Kids”

  1. We’re virus-free, so not officially housebound, but being careful. And I was reminded of an important lesson this morning: as an ordained deacon, I am sworn to serve my church family in whatever method needed. But we also have my nearly 85-year old mother living with us. The more often I leave to be with my congregation, the more I risk bringing home a virus due to innocent contact with another person. Parish obligations are fine, but my first responsibility is to serve those here at home. I wasn’t thinking about that earlier this week, but I am humbled and see it now. We’ll get past all the virus stuff, as long as we remember God is with us. And make memories doing it!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hello, Mike. Thank you for sharing your story – and I agree with you completely. We hope to create memories of this time that are pleasant, rather than painful, for our kids. Our family is virus-free, too, but the governor of Illinois has asked that anyone who can stay home, stay home – and those who must go out are only supposed to get groceries, gas, and so forth. As a first responder, my husband has it the most difficult of all of us. He must be available to help the public, but he doesn’t want to bring sickness home with him…so we do the best we can, taking all appropriate measures, and trying to trust God.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Thank you so much for these ideas! One of my kids is always on his own timetable and always getting distracted by books -actually, two of mine are. I’m going to try the time-estimate-with-him method, followed up with using a timer.

    Liked by 1 person

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