Kid Chores

Do you have chores that your kids do every day?  Or every week?

Sometimes it’s easier just to do everything yourself!  There is less fussing.  The chore is done when you want it done, rather than when the kids get to it. And the chore is done the way you want it to be!  But kids truly need chores and you need them to do chores too!

You need your kids to do chores to keep your own sanity and to stop yourself from getting a back ache from the million times you bend over to pick up that toy, dirty sock, or jacket off the floor.

And your kids need chores to teach them responsibility for their own possessions and rechoresspect for others  in the family.  Whenever my kiddos start to complain about chores, I remind them that we are all a part of a family and in order for all of us to have fun together, we have to work together too.  Otherwise, one person (Mom) gets stuck working while everyone else is snuggling and reading on the couch.

Of course, chores have to be age appropriate.  You can’t expect a 3-year old to take out the trash or a 7 year old to make dinner, but even the toddlers can put their laundry in the hamper or pick up a few toys.

In our house, some chores are assigned and some are just expected of them each day.  For example, I will not pick up dirty laundry off the floor.  But they have learned that if that want to wear that favorite princess shirt or if they need that soccer jersey, it must find its way to the hamper.  They also get to bring their hampers down on laundry day, just to help mom out!   They are also responsible for their rooms being clean.  I will help them with big messes if they ask, but they are learning to care for their own toys.

I am also slowly teaching them (or tricking them) into making their beds each day.  Personally, if I don’t get to make my bed first thing, I feel like I am forgetting something all day!  So I started by making the kids’ beds each day.  This was first because they didn’t know how to make them by themselves, but then also because they really got used to having their beds made.  So when they found their beds unmade, they knew something was out of place.  I have gradually moved to make-your-own-bed-weekends.  And now, they make their beds twice during the week too.  I will occasionally help them, especially when it looks like my son has played in a soccer game in his dreams all night and his covers are all ripped out!  If they ask, I will tuck in those hard to reach places so we can all get to school on time.  But this summer, their bed responsibilities will increase another day or two.  I also feel like these responsibilities increase with age.  My 10-year old son should be able to make his bed with relatively no help while my 5 year old can’t wrestle the covers into the right places very easily.

They do have chores assigned to them each morning and evening too.  In the morning, they have easy tasks, like opening all the window shades in the living room, packing lunches, and pouring cereal.  In the evening, supper duties rotate so the kids each have to set the table, clear the table, or wash dishes so everyone gets to participate.

As they get older, I can see them recognizing the value of helping, like when my 5-year-old helps dry the dishes so we can have time to read books or when my 7 year old helps put the food on the table so we can eat sooner.

And as with every chore they do, I try not to take it for granted as if it is always expected of them because I don’t like it when tasks are expected of me without appreciation. So, I always try to say “Thank you for helping me clear the table.” or “I appreciated you picking up your laundry.” Even complementing them on their clean rooms or telling them how big they are shows them that I am thankful for their help!

Let me add one big disclaimer!  This doesn’t work for me all the time.  At least onc e a day, I scold myself for doing something that they are supposed to do, but I am often rewarded with a “Thanks for packing my lunch, Mom,” which makes all my failed efforts worthwhile.  Ah, the Power of Thank you!

thank you

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