Saturday, June 19, 2010

Chores 4 Children

When it comes to parenting and chores for children, everyone {and I do mean EVERYONE!} has an opinion.

After getting a message from my friend Michelle, I thought it would be a good idea to start off the summer with some ideas that have worked for our family. I would love for you to contribute your own suggestions. Even if you don't have children or if your children have children of their own, I am sure you have something to contribute. We could all benefit from your experiences that have NOT worked as well!

************************************** DISCLAIMER************************************
I am by no means an expert in child-rearing and child-development, in fact we told our kids when they were young, "this is the way we are doing things, and we will pay for counseling later if it didn't work!" So far, college savings is still in tact and has not needed to be dipped into for child counseling services! Now we are in the safe zone-thanks to EAP!

Basic Chores: AGES 2 through adulthood {your spouse!}

1. Make bed
2. Make sure clothes are picked up
3. Make sure everything is picked up off the floor

That is it! Simple.Simple.Simple.

Before breakfast, this was{IS!} their responsibility. I would wake them up with my silly little, "wakey, wakey, little snakey" "uppy, uppy, little guppy" whatever it would take to get their sleepy little heads up. Then hugs and kisses. Then down to business.
I would set the "breakfast timer". They would know that it was their responsibility to have their chores done before breakfast. I know. I am mean, but let me tell you...their future bosses will be writing us thank you notes on company letterhead!
It is very do-able for toddlers to pull the blankets up on their bed to make it...and easy for them to clean things off the floor. Even if you have a basket for them to put it into so that you can put things away for them later. At this age, you are just trying to make them aware of picking up behind their little selves. TRUST ME, there is nothing worse than having older children/adults who expect others to pick up behind them. I am sure we have all worked with somebody like that! NOT fun!

I am not saying this is every time a toy hits the floor or a puzzle is pulled out. You have to allow time for them to be children and have legos, army men, hot wheels, stuffed animals, or baby dolls strewn about and played with. What I am saying is that you can have designated clean up times wheather they are right after play time or at the end of the day. Keeping in mind that clean up time needs to be kept at an age appropriate level.

When our son was in kindergarten, I went in to pick him up after school and his teacher took me aside. Not unusual at all. Anyway, she said,"Caleb metioned that he wasn't allowed to have breakfast before school this morning." In her concerned, baby-talking-to-me-with her head-tilted-kinda-way. As if I was a young mom who had no clue about parenting {which I still don't!} I stood up tall in my CLOGS and said, "Yep. Actually, he chose not to have breakfast. His chores weren't done by the time breakfast was ready so he spent that time taking care of his room." I was wondering if she was going to call CPS. She just looked at me like I was insane to have such high expectations for a kindergardener. The next time I saw her, she took me aside AGAIN and told me she wished more parents had higher expectations for their children, because Caleb was always so willing to help "work" and assist her when she needed help and we must be doing something right. WHEW!!! Dodged that bullet!

Start small and as they grow, you can fine-tune the details. It makes them aware of the need that things do need to be done and then they really enjoy the freedom of play time.

Teaching our children good work ethics starts at a very young age.

There is something so rewarding about instilling in them the reward of good, hard work.

We all know how observant our babies are. They take everything in and they learn very quickly from us. So it is up to us to model a healthy and good attitude toward our chores as well.

The main thing to remember is that if your children are YOUNG, they are learning. If your children are older and you haven't had them doing chores, be gentle, they are learning, too. This should be enjoyable.

Their chores do not have to be done perfectly {NO hospital corners and white glove inspections, okay?} You are teaching them to do a good {not perfect :)} job so that when they are older, they will be responsible adults with a good work ethic.

When your children are helping, and possibly making MORE work for you, make sure to praise them even if it isn't what you expect. What you are really trying to do is to allow them to be a major contributor to the success and well-being of your family. Remind them of how their happy attitude is pleasing to the Lord.

Summer is the perfect time to implement chores.
You will have bigger blocks of time to help them and even more time to play together!

If chores have not been a priority, start with a clean slate. Help your child organize their room and then help them with the basic three chores until they are on their own. I am sure you can get creative!

As our children grow into adults, I believe it is the little chores that they are taught right off the bat, that mold their views on what it means to be responsible on so many more levels in life. It is their basic chores that eventually become careers that need to be done well in order to provide for school, bills, and a home of their own.

I thank God for my husband and for the Dad he had who provided him with such a good example of what a blessing good hard work is.

Thank you, honey for being an amazing example to our children of the hardest "workin' man" I know and for leading our family in grace and strength. Thank you for coming alongside of me and helping our children with their chores and having such a happy attitude toward helping us.
Most of all, thank you for your humble prayers and allowing our children to see that it is God's strength, not yours, that has allowed your hard work to lead to your many achievements in life.

"Whatever you do, work at it with ALL your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men. Colossians 3:23

P.S. CHORE CHART coming Tuesday!


  1. Yep! This is what I needed to get our chore system kick started this summer. A few months ago, I bought some cute paper, some metal sheets, a bunch of magnets and some other fun stuff to make a chore chart out of. I have a few ideas, but if you have any before I make it, I would love to hear about yours too! Thanks for the idea! I have a bit of a control issue, so it's hard for me to give up my way of cleaning or organizing and let them start doing some of it. I'm working on that though!

  2. THank you Lisa! When did you start having them help with dinner set up and clean up too?

  3. Michelle-right off the bat! I am doing "KIDS IN THE KITCHEN on Wednesday, and I will talk about it. But seriously, sometimes I would be nursing the babe and I would be setting the table and talking about it! I know I am crazy, but it worked. Anyway, as soon as they could walk they were toddling with the napkins and real glasses "setting" the table.

  4. Yep yep, those are the kinds of things I'm trying to consistently instill in my nephews & nieces! Sometimes with interesting results, but usually it works out okay. : )

  5. *sigh*

    I feel like a total failure. My boys are 3 & 4 and do NOTHING for themselves. Is it too late? Can I undo what I've done? Is it expecting too much to think that I can, tomorrow even, start this whole 3 chores deal with a breakfast timer? Honestly, this is embarrassing for me to admit, but my 4 year old is SO lazy and unmotivated -- he's not potty trained yet, he's demanding and right now I have a hard time living day to day life with him. All of which, I am positive, is MY fault since I don't make him toe the line... I feel overwhelmed and again, like such a failure. More than anything - I feel like I am failing THEM.

    I am sorry to unload all of this on you - a perfect stranger .... I guess I just want someone to tell me that it's not too late and that I CAN change the sails of our little boats and send us back in the right direction...