Monday, October 6, 2014

Why My Kids Do Chores

Seems like lately I have seen a lot of those charts for what age your child can do certain things. Not academic things, household things. Like cleaning up after themselves, helping with laundry, etc.. I've seen as many different ideals as I have pins. Some expect more, some less. Some think scripture memorization is more important, some focus more on what they can reach.

Thing that really caught my attention is that the common comment with these lists and charts is generally along the lines of "I really wish my kids would do this stuff" or "Wow, my kids would never xyz".


My boys have always been my helpers. Granted, they like to help but its also because they've always been expected to. Especially over the last few years when I had to return to work and was doing it on my own for awhile.

Kids need responsibilities. More than just doing their homework and putting their plate in the sink. They need to learn to be a productive member of a household. They need to know that the laundry fairy doesnt wash, dry, and fold their dirty clothes while everyone sleeps. That those dishes they put in the sink don't magically disapper. The bed they sleep in? Doesn't make itself either.

They live there too. I am their mother, their caretaker, and love them more than life but I am not their maid.  I simply could not do everything it takes to run a household without their help and still get to spend time with them. I want them to be able to be independent and a productive member of their household without feeling like their partner should take care of them.

The boys do chores depending on what needs to be done and what they can handle. Little things like cleaning up their toys and putting things where they belong but also helping with the yard maintenance, sweeping, and cleaning bathrooms. I spent time making sure things were organized in a way they can be independent and not require help. I pared down the things we use to clean to two spray bottles. One with vingar/water and the other with diluted lysol cleaner. Those two bottles will clean anything in your house and both are kid friendly.

D knows how to use the vaccuum correctly while K usually sweeps the hard surfaces because the vaccuum is too heavy for him.

They want to take their lunch instead of buy it? They know how to put together a pb&j.

Not that they do all of those things all the time but they can do it and they don't give me lip about it if I ask them to. It's all simply become part of how our household runs. No charts or special prizes needed*. We all have to care for it and they understand that.

Of course that doesn't mean it's all work around here. The chores and things they do take at most half an hour a day. The difference is that when you do a little every day and there are more people doing it, it goes faster and leaves a lot more time for fun and snuggles. So its a double bonus. The house stays cleaner and the boys get more of my undivided attention!

It's mostly about trusting your child with responsibility. Start small and understand it might take some guidance at first. Given the chance, any one is going to sit back and let someone else do all the dirty work but given direction any one can learn to help. Even kids.

*Not to say we've never used charts. We have used a ticket system in the past but it fell to the wayside. They just didn't seem to care about the ticket part and did their "jobs" anyway. Just another reason my kids rock my socks.

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