Kids and Chores

June 14, 2016

If I had a dime for every time Chelsea flopped on the floor when I ask her to empty the dishwasher..

It would be much easier to just empty the dang spoons myself, but do I? No. Why? Because my four-year-old is fully capable of pulling her own weight around here. Heck, even my 1-year-old pulls her own weight with the dishes!

The reasons why kids ought to be taught to do chores is really kind of obvious, if you think about it... Chores teach them responsibility, teach them the joy of helping others, teach them the pride that comes from doing a job and doing it well, growing up and knowing how to clean without mom's supervision, yada yada yada... But if I'm being totally honest, the reason I make my kids do chores is because I don't want me and Dad to be the only ones doing things around here! These kids gotta share the load! All that other stuff is just a perk!

So what are some chores that your kiddos can help with? I've come up with a short list of chores that Chelsea (and sometimes Alexa) share in.

Emptying the dishwasher
Folding laundry
Sorting laundry
Picking up toys
Mopping the floor
Loading the dishwasher
Clearing the table
Emptying garbage cans
Cleaning their rooms
Making their beds

Basically any household chore can be adapted to fit the abilities of a child.

But finding chores for our kids to help with isn't really the hard part. Getting them to do it isn't even the hard part. The hard part is allowing them to do it!

Any chore you assign your child to complete is gonna take 10 times longer than it would take you, but you've gotta let them do it anyway, and you've gotta let them do it their way.

In our minds, we have a particular way we like to have things done and it can be really hard to watch someone work out a problem their way, not ours. Having expectations for the end product of the chore is necessary, but allow your kids to work through the problem on their own! 

When you let your child figure out their own way of doing things, you're allowing them agency and assigning them responsibility, which is really the hole point of chores anyway, right?

For example, when I introduce Chelsea to a new chore, I'll tell her what needs to be done, tell her what I expect (all the spoons in this section, forks here, etc. etc.), and show her how I'd do it if necessary.

When I was little, my brothers and sisters started taking me to my Dad's office where we would clean. I was always in charge of cleaning the glass tables and stomping the leaves in the dumpster during the fall. When we cleaned the leaves (there were SO many!) I remember my sister always asking, "Does it look alright? Is there any possible thing that Dad could notice and make us do over again?" My dad was a stickler when it came to his lawn/landscaping and more than once my brothers and sisters and I had to practically re-do a job because it didn't meet his expectations. So, I learned how to work hard and do it right the first time around!

When I got older and could trim the bushes, my dad came out and told me that I was probably the best trimmer in the family (there are 12 of us, so that's saying a lot). When I would finish trimming the bushes, I would look at those plants and think, "Yeah, that one is really well rounded" and give myself a mental pat on the back. #findprideinhardwork

Am I totally perfect? No. Do I sometimes choose to do the chores myself instead of involving the kids? Yes. Do I exempt my children from ever helping out? Heck no! What are kids for if not for free labor? ;)


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