Monday, March 21, 2011

Chores, Chores for Everyone!

Recently a friend told me that on her children’s 10th birthday, she wrapped a bottle of Tide and gave it to them. The message: Time to wash your own laundry.

I don’t remember when I started doing laundry or how MY mother taught me to do things like dishes, laundry, cleaning, etc. I just know I could take care of most household tasks solo. By 18 my sister and I were self-sufficient enough to take care of the house and farm by ourselves while my parents lived at the hospital in a nearby town when my baby brother was treated for spinal meningitis for 21 days.

Now, we don’t live on a farm, so I don’t need as much help as my mother did. But I do believe in children pitching in because the work of maintaining a family should simply not fall to one person. And while I’m getting a handle on my family’s new situation (my new job, hubby’s long days, and extra childcare) our strained finances require me to do more cooking, with virtually no eating out. That takes time – which I have less of.

I say all that to say this – my children need to step up to the plate and assist in the tasks that are required to keep family life running smoothly. Currently, they put away their own laundry, empty the dishwasher, and pick up their rooms. So they don’t do chores on a daily basis.

That has to change, because I can’t do it alone.

Only 2 months from 11, Drama Queen is about to start doing her own laundry. I think she and her brother could also fold the towels for their own bathroom too. Maybe empty the trash? Wipe down the table after dinner every night (they already do this at school). Dust sometimes?

It’s amazing how having one small thing done by someone else can lighten a mother’s load.

So tell me, what tasks did your kids do at what age? When do you think it is appropriate for them to learn new chores? How much do you ask them to help around the house?



Playground Monitor said...

I don't think my boys learned to do laundry until the summer before they went off to college. But they mowed the yard and helped with car-related things (#1 son would change my oil for me). I do remember them loading and unloading the dishwasher, dusting, folding and putting away laundry, keeping their bathroom clean and vacuuming.

I really don't think it's ever too early to teach them to do things around the house and wish I'd taught them more at an earlier age. They do very well on their own, though. Last time I checked, they hadn't starved. And #1 son was quite handy when the baby came along. He can change a diaper with the best of them. He's cooked plenty of meals for me when I've visited. And when I saw him yesterday, he was mopping the floor. They are moving and he was the one who tackled the kitchen floor.


I gave my son rubber gloves one time in his Christmas stocking. Santa didn't want him to get dishpan hands.

robertsonreads said...

When my son was ~ 11, I had him get the mail in each day when he came in from school. Also, take & return outside trash can when trash was due for pick up. Make his own bed, put his own clothes up, help get groceries in house, and when he got a little older, mowing the yard.

When I was 16, I could keep a house with the best of them, also helped with the upbringing of my younger sister & brother as there is 14 & 15 year age difference. And have a mown yard that looked great!

So, you getting your kids to help will actually benenfit them in the long run.

Problem Child said...

AC has a basic list of chores. However, they are done grudgingly with complaints. (And often, "but I took out the trash yesterday!")

AC does trash, recycling, dishwasher, and gerbil cage cleaning. She's supposed to keep her room picked up, but that's a lost cause most days. She has pre and post laundry duties, but we're still covering much of that. Soon, though! :-)

Stephanie Jones said...

I don't have children at home but I will say that I can tell which of my students have to help around their homes by the way they help in the classroom.

I think it is not only good for the mom to have help around the house but it is also good for the children because whether they realize it or not they get a sense of accomplishment from a job well done!

Stephanie Jones said...

Oh, and just like in real life maybe you could link a reward/payment to accomplishing all of their chores for 3 days in a row without needing to be reminded. It wouldn't have to be money, it could be something like extra time past bedtime or more time on the computer, television or telephone but something to reward them for doing the job on their own!