Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Making Chores Fair for Children

O-Cedar, Polish Dusting Products, USA, 1910

I've mentioned in a previous post (A Cheerful and Willing Housekeeper) about not expecting too much from our children in regards to housework. As Mothers, it seems like we have plenty of chores and we are often asking for help. Sometimes, we even ask for help all day long for those of us who homeschool!

During my recent confinement, I noticed the children did a fairly good job keeping the house in order. But something came to me. I realized that I had been asking them to do far more chores than necessary! Do I really need the floors washed every day? (Not that it happened - smiles) Why was I asking this of my children? Look at the above photo. Do you see how happy she is to clean?  Some of us enjoy cleaning and it makes us happy. Yet, I seriously doubt our children enjoy it!

This made me think of a fair way to present chores to my children. It will make their lives more efficient for the following reasons:

1. I will not be nagging them all day to do a myriad of tasks.
2. We will all know what to expect.
3. I will be content and happy knowing things will get done.

Here's the plan:

I will have a list of five major chores that need to be done once a week by the children:

1. Monday - Wash the floors.  (John)
2. Tuesday - Organize clothes, laundry, do ironing. (Amy)
3. Wednesday - Vacuum the carpets.  (Matthew)
4. Thursday - Empty fridge and freezer and wash it all out.  (Amy)
5. Friday - Deep clean the bathroom.  (John)

Of course the children will still have their daily duties, but at least the heavy jobs will be taken care of on specific days.   Since I only have three children still at home, I had to divide the chores up a little. Matthew is my oldest and is very busy, so I only gave him one heavy job. Amy and John will get 2 weekly chores each. This should work well.

One important thing to consider:  When someone is doing chores, everyone else should find some kind of cleaning or organizing project to work on at the same time. This makes everyone feel like a team. For example, If Amy is cleaning the fridge, John and I will be working on cleaning bedrooms or sweeping. Once Amy is finsished, we can all stop and go do something fun!

How do you keep chores fair for your children? Are you asking them to clean all day long, or do they have specific chores to do each day?

If you are looking for tips for keeping children's bedrooms clean, Raising Olives and Mommyx12 both have some great ideas! 

Mrs. White

Every Family Can Do This - The Good Deed Money. 

What Was it Like Owning a Family Business in Ye Old Country Store.

Creating a Happy Home despite physical trials.

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Beth West said...

I like your plan! Depending upon how cluttered your fridge gets, maybe you could have Amy empty the fridge and do the big clean on it once a month, giving it a quick tidy and wipe down once a week. We try to wipe the shelves and organize a bit once a week, but I reserve the "big clean" for sometime right before I do my big monthly grocery shopping. LOL, it's so easy to do at that point because there's usually not much in there.

I have chore lists for the children that I made up on the computer. However, it does seem that with a 4 yo and a 2 yo, we're all doing some kind of picking up all day long.

Taryn said...

I enjoyed reading the book, The Duggars: 20 and Counting. They call chores- jurisdictions.

Heather @ Marine Corps Nomads said...

Munchkin is in charge of the dishes. It's a daily task. Daddy has decided that it will also include wiping down the counters and stove.

She's also in charge of cleaning her room and bathroom. That is her domain, so to speak. I do not nag her on that.

While I do expect her to bring her laundry down to the laundry room, I do not expect her to do the laundry. She knows how to do it, so she will help with laundry at times.

I don't have a set "big" chore. We just all pitch in a get things done.

With one child, things are a bit different than with multiple children, but we make things work. Everyone makes a mess, so everyone contributes in cleaning up the mess.

Heather said...

There is so much that can be said about this topic! Some of my favorites are:

1. When you have a baby, let the kids do the chores (not all of them, but what they are capable of doing) so mommy can hold the baby. It's not fair to the baby if mommy doesn't get time with him/her because there are so many others to clean up after! After all, we all made the mess. We all clean it up. Starting early gets the kids used to that idea and it is never an imposition, just a fact of life.

2. Delegate to the youngest child possible when you need extra assistance. Young ones can fetch diaper wipes and run dirty ones to the trash. Slightly older ones can fetch bottles, wipe dishes and tables, & help get ingredients for cooking, etc. Older ones can clean toilets, take out trash, do laundry, & outdoor chores.

3. I do try to make a point of everybody appreciating everybody else's efforts so that no one feels like they are working while others sit. You can't always be doing something when someone else is working (at least I can't...I have migraines and sometimes just need help), but you can ALWAYS thank them for their help. Plus, if we appreciate each other, then we realize we all have strengths and duties and everybody is helping. Sometimes when there are several jobs nobody wants to do, I give them a choice, then at least they are getting what they wanted while they do what they didn't want to do! lol!

4. A chart definitely helps us. A. because then it is not mom being a nag, mom being the bad guy and assigning the work (it's the agreed upon chart) and B. the kids know what is required and what they need to do to be DONE, and they like that...I like crossing things off a list. Why wouldn't my kids?

I love your posts. Keep on blogging!