Friday, March 28, 2014

Why my kids do chores

I am a strong believer in chores. Yes, there is a selfish component in that. As I have mentioned before, I hate cleaning and I really could use all the help I can get.

But really that's not it. For the most part, having the kids do chores is more work for me, not less. For one thing I have to get them to do them. I also have to get all the stuff out for them, help them along the way and "inspect" to make sure it is done. Plus, I have to put up with it done their way and not mine.

So really if a clean house with no effort from me is my goal I am way better off hiring a cleaning team and depriving my children of all luxuries and some basic needs to pay for it. There would be less whining.

The real reason I have my kids to chores is that it is good for them.

First off, it teaches them that we are a team. This is OUR house, not my house with them as guests. We all live here and we all have to take care of it together. I hope that this lesson will carry over to the idea that we are also a team in other ways. We all have to take care of each other. We are family for life and if your brother or sister needs help, a hug, a laugh or anything else you will be there to offer it.

It teaches responsibility. They have a job to do and if they don't do it it will not get done. I am trying a new system where on top of regular every day chores (like making their bed and clearing and setting the table) they each have one chore that is theirs and only theirs. They can do this chore when they want, and how they want as long as it is done by Sunday afternoon. I still need to remind (read nag) them a bit and help some of them a lot but I hope that they are seeing how their work matters. Our family is counting on them and they are making a real impact.

I also want my kids to know how to do this things. I want them to know how to clean their house, how to cook, how to take care of them selves. If my kids were leaving school not learning how to read, write or do math I would have some choice words to say to their teachers. So why is it OK that my kids grow up in my home and not learn cooking, cleaning and house maintenance. We are starting small. Our oldest cooks dinner (with lots of back up support) once a week. They now all know how to clean a toilet, load and start a dishwasher and vacuum. Don't worry, I am not asking them the re-roof the house or sending the two year old out the mow the lawn.

I want my kids to value working. Having a job is a good thing. So is working hard even if you don't like it.  I try to make chore time as fun as possible. We put on fun music to grove to, I try to have a fun thing to do after we are done, but even if they don't like to clean the toilet (and who does really) if it is their job it has to get done. Working hard and a job well done is its own reward. (OK this is a bit of  a long stretch and I am still working on this concept my self but at least we are learning together.)
I know that these are big goals for a toilet brush to take on but someone has to do it.