Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Chores - help!

Do any of you out there living with children have success in getting kids to do chores?  I'm looking for a system that lasts longer than two weeks before I give up and forget about it.

At the moment, we have clean up your room and vacuum on Saturday morning.  This is a good start.  But I'd like the kids to be pitching in with some regular jobs around the place other than their own rooms.  They also put their own clothes away and help pick up toys etc.  But not much else.

I was reading this article over at smockityfrocks entitled "10 Signs Your Child Might Be Spoiled and What To Do About it".  Some of it was perhaps an oversimplification (well, that's the nature of blog posts) but this line resonated with me,
"I believe it develops the character of children to require that they regularly serve others with no compensation or special recognition. Daily chores that benefit the whole family, not just care for the child’s own personal needs, accomplish this nicely."
Yep. So far most of the "chores" we've asked the kids to do have been for their own benefit. Make their beds, put their clothes away, brush their teeth.... They aren't really chores. They are just learning to take responsibility for yourself. To tell the truth, we still haven't won the war in most of those areas (oh, the complaining about having to tying up shoe laces or brushing teeth!) but I want to think about the next step which is getting them to pitch in for the good of the household and not just themselves.

But I'm very wary of starting out on grand, colour-coded laminated schemes that I can't maintain. I think after a while the kids will start to think, "Don't worry. This is just a mum-thing. It won't last more than a couple of days. You don't have to take her seriously when she starts one of these things." So I keep my grand plans to a minimum in hope that I'll be able to prove that I mean what I say.  

I have a bad habit of just doing it myself because I want it done fast and I want it done right.  And another bad habit of just not thinking about the fact that one of the kids could be doing it.  Doesn't occur to me to look around for ways they could help and be included.  If on the odd occasion it does occur to me, I quickly tally up the extra effort that might be involved on my part and decide that I'm just too busy tonight to train someone to do a new job.

So, any good advice out there? Pitfalls to avoid? Stuff that's worked for you?


CardsAsGifts said...

When you have solved it, please tell the rest of us who are struggling as much as your are with it :-)

Rochelle said...

Maybe this could work for you

Deb said...

Thanks, Rochelle! Good food for thought there. I really like the fact that she talks about it being horrible for the first few weeks. I'm pretty sure that's how it's going to go down at our house. Encourages me to think that you can work through the "horrible" and find it gets better.

Fiona said...

Clearly I have no idea - but there is a blogger that talks about this guff regularly, and it seems to non-parent me that it is quite a good approach. She homeschools, so the kids are home a LOT more than normal school kids, but here are a couple of links where she talks about it:
with links for younger kids (She has TEN kids! - freak lady).

Meredith said...

Over and above what I expect of them, the sort of stuff you list, I try to teach our kids one new job each school holidays. There is time then to really show them, gives them time to practise it when there isn't the pressure of school and by the end of the holiday they can generally do it. Then I just get them to tackle one of the taught jobs as I need them to do it...not on a roster basis...but trying to make sure the requests are spread around.

Jennifer said...

Chores in our house were just a way of life, with 4 kids there wasn't really any other option. I think the trick here is to get the kids when there about 5 and there in that stage where they really want to help do everything. When I was younger (from 5-12) my chores were setting the table, clearing the table and wiping the mats, putting a new garbage bag in the bin and drying up the dishes with my brother. When I was older I did all that plus iron my own clothes, help prepare dinner, clean the bathroom, shower and toilet and wash up the dishes(plus other basic things like clean my room and make my bed). Once we finish dinner every night everyone helps in cleaning up together (washing up, clearing the table, taking the rubish out, feeding the dogs) then we are able to sit down and relax, no one was aloud to go watch tv or read until all the cleaning up is done, which I think is a good system because otherwise it would always be "We'll do it latter" and Dad would end up doing it all. I think the key will be persistance and sticking to it, maybe some sort of reward system would be useful? My parents didn't pay us for the individual chores we did but we got payed pocket money every fortnight.

Deb said...

Love these links! Thanks, Fiona!

Deb said...

Oh that's really helpful! I love the idea of "teaching" chore at a separate time to the ordinary mad rush of the day.

Deb said...

Jennifer, you were so well trained! Wow. I was an only child and I made such a song and dance about chores that my parents didn't ask for very much in the end. I was a real pain.