I have come to the conclusion that the universally dreaded word in any household is “chores.” There is just no easy way around this one. It’s either a constant battle or non-existent.
The battle grounds can be fierce and go on for years. The child who never lifts a finger doesn’t learn to fend for him or herself. I’ve seen both. How does your family fit into this discussion?
Currently, my household is a war zone on Saturday mornings. That is our weekly housecleaning/yard maintenance time. I believe I saw a few truce flags last weekend, but I’m not stupid, I know those only exist when my kids have an ulterior motive.
My husband and I have chosen this route in raising our kids for a number of reasons. The top two, which echo through other households I’ve spoken with this week, are:
1. Responsibility, including pride in ownership
2. Teaching our children household tasks
“Once my daughter started cleaning the bathroom on a weekly basis, I noticed that she picked up after herself in there during the week.”
“My son mows the lawn now without even being told to do it. It’s like that is his territory and if it looks shaggy, it's on him. He takes pride in how nice the front lawn looks.”
These are a few of the comments from those parents who seem to have figured it out.
Then there is the question, are rewards appropriate? Should we reward our kids for helping out around the house in which they live in? Is it suitable to offer incentive? I don’t know. Plain and simple, I don’t know. I can argue both sides of these questions.
Many moons ago, a little list appeared on my refrigerator door. This list was titled “Age Appropriate Chores.”
Tattered, torn and yellowed from age, the list is long gone, but the message remains. From a very young age, children are able to contribute to the household. Feeding the dog or clearing your own dinner plate were listed under age three.
Taking out the garbage and pulling weeds were listed for ages six to eight. Simple tasks. Everyday tasks. Classified as “work,” these tasks can and do instill a sense of responsibility for children as young as three.
How does your family handle the chore chart? Short of hiring a housecleaner, I’m open to ideas.