These 5 'game changing' phrases can teach your children about the mental load, according to a psychologist - and it could set them in good stead for adulthood

"Change at home can change society"

A mum high fiving a young boy while sat next to a pile of washing
(Image credit: Getty Images)

The phrases one psychologist uses 'on repeat' can help teach children all about the mental load - and it could have huge benefits for their future.

Parents - and mums in particular - will be very familiar with the mental load. It's similar to kinkeeping, and is the term used to describe the endless to-do list of things that keep your family happy and healthy and your household running. Explaining the mental load to your partner is hard enough, but explaining it to kids can be even more tricky, because it's not a tangible thing.

Nevertheless, making your kids aware of all that goes into raising a family can be beneficial for not only your current household, but your kid's future partner might thank you too. Mum of two and expert in the mental load and burnout Dr Morgan Cutlip recently shared on Instagram the phrases she uses to teach her kids about it.

Writing in the caption, Dr Morgan explained, "Change at home can change society. You can interpret these phrases as just regular parenting words, or even words to teach kids life skills; however I keep their future partners in mind."

5 phrases that teach kids about the mental load:

  1. "Look around. What's one thing you see that needs [to be] done?"
  2. "You try to find it first. Make sure you move things around when you look."
  3. "You can get that yourself. If you need help I'm here, but that's something you can handle on your own."
  4. "We're a family team, we all do things to make our home run smoothly."
  5. "Let me teach you so you can do this on your own."

GoodtoKnow's Family Editor and mum-of-one, Stephanie Lowe, can relate to the struggle of teaching kids about the mental load. She shared: "I remember my husband bringing our toddler into the kitchen once and saying 'Mummy, how can we help you?' and I almost lost my proverbial. Like no, no, no, no. I will be teaching my son how to use his initiative and look to what might need doing when someone is cooking dinner, like setting the table or getting drinks. None of this weaponised 'help me to help you' incompetence that seems to be widely accepted from men these days."

And Dr Morgan's followers were impressed by her guidance. One follower commented, "Love these quick scripts!! It feels like so much work in the beginning but taking ownership over finding things or our family system together has been such a game changer".

Another said, "Everything here, I love it so much. Especially the let me teach you how to do it", while one joked, "Can I say these to my husband?"

Dr Morgan added in the caption: "It’s not perfect. Sometimes they just want to plop on the couch and have me bring them snacks. But we’re working on this and I truly believe that each family that cultivates the skills and mindset around the mental load differently in their children is making a difference in their children’s and their [potential] future partner’s family life."

For more parenting advice, a child psychologist has revealed how giving children ‘ownership’ over their day can stop tantrums and an Olympic gold medallist has shared the words to use when your kid wants to give up a sport. Elsewhere, he's the six things kids love to hear their parents say to each other.

Ellie Hutchings
Family News Editor

Ellie is GoodtoKnow’s Family News Editor and covers all the latest trends in the parenting world - from relationship advice and baby names to wellbeing and self-care ideas for busy mums. Ellie is also an NCTJ-qualified journalist and has a distinction in MA Magazine Journalism from Nottingham Trent University and a first-class degree in Journalism from Cardiff University. Previously, Ellie has worked with BBC Good Food, The Big Issue, and the Nottingham Post, as well as freelancing as an arts and entertainment writer alongside her studies. When she’s not got her nose in a book, you’ll probably find Ellie jogging around her local park, indulging in an insta-worthy restaurant, or watching Netflix’s newest true crime documentary.