Wednesday, July 06, 2011

Countdown to 30: Kids and chores

{I'm doing a series of answering peoples' questions about me and my life as I count down to my 30th birthday. If you have something you'd like to ask me--anything!--please leave a comment or send me an email. It's not everyday I open myself up to answering any and all random questions, so ask away!}

This time my bloggy friend Tiffany wanted to know:

How old and what chores do you give your kids to keep your household running smoothly?

I have to tell you that while I'm not sure how smoothly our home runs :), we are big into chores around here.  We don't however currently have much of a chore chart, use a reward system, or give an allowance.  I'm sure as time goes on that some of that will change, but for now, the kids do chores because we're a family and therefore it's important to pitch in and help out.  I talk about how Mommy has lots to do around the house too, and while it's not always what I feel like doing, things don't go well if it doesn't get done.

I did find this chalk/corkboard (originally from Target), brand new, at the thrift store several months ago for around $5, and wrote out some specifics there.  (Kevin added the "chore" at the bottom.  :) )  Those chores are in addition to the kids' other daily responsibilities, which include:

  • making their beds
  • picking up after themselves (toys, books, art supplies) before lunch and before dinner
  • preparing lunch
  • taking their dishes to the counter after meals
  • taking Mary's diapers out to the trash

 and their weekly responsibilities:

  • loading the washing machine with their dirty clothes
  • moving their clothes to the dryer
  • folding and putting away their clothes.

My kids learned to do chores when they were around 3 years old probably, just picking up their own toys and such.  As time has passed they have gradually been given more responsibilities.  Some kids are better than others at various things, and I admit that while I should do more rotating around so they all become proficient at each job, it is super tempting to have Yosef do all the sweeping all the time, because he is such a rockin' sweeper. 

My goal is that by the time my children leave my home, that they will know more or less how to keep a home.  Each and every one of them.  Boys and girls. 

The ultimate reason for having the kids do chores, in addition to it being good discipline and useful for later in life, is so our household will run smoothly.  Now please don't get me wrong, I want my kids to have lots of playtime, to be able to make a huge mess, and to have, well, a childhood.  And, they do.  But with this many people in our family, there is no reason for me to be running around doing jobs that my children are perfectly capable of doing.  And, I don't want them to see their mother as their personal servant.  :)

I would say that Anna (7 yrs.), Yosef (6.5), and Biniam (6.5) do the bulk of the chores.  Kaitlyn is four years old, and I've honestly gone easier on her than I should when it comes to helping around the house.  Recently though she has begun doing more, and she enjoys it!  Sweet Katie Jane takes such pride in making her bed and wiping the table down--it is adorable.

Eventually I plan to have the kids completely take over the floors and the bathrooms, but for now, I'm still in charge of those because I want them done a certain way.  I really look forward to when they can vacuum, too (we have carpet in our bedrooms) but I think our vacuum is a bit too heavy for now.  Or not--maybe I should have them give it a try!

My children definitely don't always work with a happy heart, but honestly, I would say that for the most part they do.  When they start complaining I usually explain why it's important for everyone to help, and they get it.  They really do.  Plus, they have each other, so they're rarely working alone.  They know what to expect, and they know that life simply involves work.  (If they don't learn that at age seven, they'll learn it later, and it actually might be harder to learn then!)

Hopefully this explains a little bit what we do around here.  Thanks for asking!


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