Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Chores for kids

What do you know? This was post number 1400 on the blog :)

So I'm a big fan of kids doing chores. Big!

It fits in with our goals of raising independent kids and I like to parent with the end in mind. I don't want to raise children who have no life skills.

Also, it's their house too and they need to help keep it neat and tidy.

I also don't want my kids thinking that there's someone picking up after them even if Nanny S is here every weekday.

My kids do these chores:
  1. pack away their own toys
  2. put their dirty laundry in the basket
  3. fold the clothes that can be worn once more (you have to let go of perfectionism...)
  4. put their dishes in the sink (no dishwasher)
  5. take our and their laundry baskets to the laundry whenever I ask
  6. sort laundry (this is very hit and miss, even for their father :)) and load the washing machine (this is a task both of them LOVE so one has to sort and then the other loads the machine one day and we change next time we do it)
  7. push in their chairs and wipe their placemats
  8. sweep up food (if they've messed)
  9. wipe their seats (if they've messed - mostly this is K because she squirms while eating)
  10. help dry and pack away the dishes
  11. make their beds with Nanny S's help (or ours on the weekend - we each take one kid - the child working with me always has the neatest bed :) :))
  12. always carry their own bags to the cars and to and from the church building
  13. close the curtains at night and open mine in the mornings
  14. help me to cook :)
Some of these things we only started implementing after D and I went on the Loving Discipline workshop where we heard that they're able to do a lot more than I was letting them do.

Basically I was hanging onto the kitchen stuff  because I'm super fussy! and I like to get things done quickly.

But look how much fun he has when I let go...

that's the cupboard where all the plastics go

So that's where we're at for the moment.

By the way, I have a new rule - if I told them to put away toys (these will be in my bedroom or kitchen because the sunroom/ playroom is always tidied properly by the kids) and they ignore or just don't do it, the toys disappear into Toy Jail for 24 hours.

There was a lot of wailing and knashing of teeth the first time I did it but it's worth it because they now know I mean business. I've only had to do it twice in the last 3 weeks.

Next up we need to talk about clothes for kids and the drama involved in getting dressed.

Do your kids do chores? Why or why not? If not, are you a perfectionist like I was? Or what's your reason?


  1. chores helps kids in so many ways... and gives them self respect and self confidence too!

  2. Both my kids do chores - they actually don't have a choice - we even have a schedule. Obviously I expect a bit more from Child1 - he's usually the whiner and Child2 LOVES doing chores. I don't think I am a perfectionist - I really don't mind how it's done but I DO insist that it has to be your very best effort and that it gets finished. Some people in my home are rather easily distracted...
    Having said that, if I really have a problem with HOW Child1 does a certain chore then I will physically show him what he needs to do and what kind of result I expect for a particular chore. I think this is easier when they are older though.

  3. Pics of Connor working are so cute!

  4. I'm all about child labor, I mean chores!

    I still struggle with perfectionism, and there are some things they just aren't allowed to do. We have come into the problem of fighting over chores and I feel ridiculous issuing time-outs for chore related fights. My biggest issue is having them put things away properly. They'd be happy to throw everything in the toy bin and call it a day where as I want the books properly put on the shelves, the puzzles stacked by size, and the toys segregated and neatly put away. If I can just stop cleaning up after they clean up I should be good to go.

    Do you notice one pushing jobs off on the other?

    Em will fuss about not wanting to clean up, then complain she has no help. She drags it out until Claire finishes what she was doing and comes and does Em's job for her! It irks me to no end so I have to keep an eye out which just puts me further behind!

  5. J and I are working on trying to remind ourselves to have the girls take more responsibility. For me, it's just easier to do many things myself rather than try to make sure they're doing it correctly. I would rather get them busy with something else, then run in and clean the kitchen, because it takes twice as long with four hands "helping".

    They do put their own clothes in the hamper each night and clean up their toys (for the most part). I recently implemented scraping their plates into the garbage (with only one real mess so far!) and putting dishes in the sink. We're getting there, but I'm way impressed with your list of what all K & C can do! : )

  6. Ours do about what yours do and the Princess a few more - like seeing that all the toothbrushes are properly washed, helping her brothers etc. Also now reading stories to them (so very cute I tell you).But you have to let go of perfectionism. The important bit.

    Ours also do occasional garden work - for instance helping to rake leaves and pick up in bags etc. They like the garden work most of all. Oh and a total hit is the chore to help feed the puppies - gosh some days they fight over that one. The also have to help to brush the dogs - all of them will help with this btu some are more keen than others.

  7. Ooooo, I love this "toy jail" you're talking about. I'm going to try this because kids usually play with their favorite toys and leave them out and about.
    I too am a supporter of chores for a child. It does learn them responsibility and independence.

  8. Mine do little chores too - right now, they think helping me do laundry and dishes and vacuum are super fun. I wonder how long that will last? They don't enjoy their 'kid' chores, like putting away their toys or cleaning their room, but they will fight over the dishwasher or the washing machine. :)

    I do toy jail too... great motivation for cleaning their playroom!

  9. I am sending my kids to you for a week! They take turns - on their day they must pick up dog poop, pack/unpack dishwasher, set/clear table. They moan liked stuffed pigs about it :-/

    They do need to tidy up after themselves, pack bags etc.

  10. Nicola has some chores, it's a bit hit and miss though - some days she's a very eager helper, other days she flat out refuses. She knows that I'll only ask twice for pencils and toys to be picked up. I ask once, the second time I add an "or else" clause, and then I do it. A lot of crap gets thrown away this way.

    She takes out plates and cutlery for us when we eat, she helps to cook when I let her, and she helps to wash dishes (only the non glass or sharp edged things). When we water the garden she gets to use the hose and I take the watering can (it's too heavy for her).

  11. Awww Marcia...they are so cute! I think it is awesome that you are teaching them disciplines at such a young age.

  12. All of my kids have various chores. Taking out trash, loading and unloading the dishwasher, folding and putting away laundry, etc.

    When something needs to be done, I pick a kid and ask them to do it generally- like I'll tell Lili to sweep under the dining room table or whatever. I don't keep a chore chart or a set list, if it needs done, someone needs to do it.

    As for the twins, they love helping unload the dishwasher, moving clothes from the washer to the dryer, etc. They also do stuff like put their own dishes in the sink, etc.


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