Monday, June 13, 2016

Chores and responsibility for younger children

Chores and responsibility: Young kids edition
I tend to be a disorganized neat freak. I like surfaces wiped, floors mopped, and laundry put away. Unfortunately, my kids don’t share in my desire for a clean house.  

That is my number one most frustrating thing about parenthood. I cannot think, get motivated or function well in a messy house. It doesn’t have to be spotless (it never is), but it needs to be inviting and reasonably picked up. 

Can you relate??? 

Watching my kids destroy my house as I’m trying to clean it is like a punch to the gut!  I have had conversations with them and talked about how disrespectful it is and how hard mommy and daddy work.  

In all reality, I don’t think they are old enough to entirely get it. They are only five and three, after all.

Enter the chore chart….

I had a great idea one day that they would start doing daily chores to essentially learn responsibility and appreciate the hard work that goes into running a house. I even went as far as to pay them so they could buy a little Lego token at the end of the week. 

It lasted a single week. That’s it--ONE week! 

In part, they lost interest and, to be completely honest, I stopped enforcing it.

No one mentioned how much work it is to get your child to do chores! If it didn’t defeat my entire purpose, then it would be easier to just do the chores myself. I still have those chore charts hanging on the wall. I have to walk past them every time I go into my room or my kids’ room and those charts are constantly taunting me. With summer break here, we have more down time which means more time to get bored and make messes.

In essence, we need a little bit of added structure or routine.

So here we go again...

I’m mentally preparing this time. I’m going to have a set time of day where I check in with my kids about chores. I’ll give a reminder and then they need to make sure they get the chores done. My youngest is three, so I plan to give her some additional reminders and help as needed

The chores listed are basic:
My son (5) has to make his bed, tidy his room, collect eggs from the chickens, brush his teeth, get dressed on his own, and feed and water the dog. My daughter (3) has to make her bed, brush her teeth, put her clothes in the hamper, and tidy her room.
As you can see, these aren’t major time consuming chores or unreasonable requests. They are simple and should be not problem for both kids to do. It’s really my parenting fail that has gotten us off track.

Here’s a picture of their chore charts...
I used what I already had (poster board and pens) and just taped it to the wall. I drew pictures because neither of them can read yet and I thought it would make it easier. 

As you’ll notice, I wasn’t lying when I said it was nothing fancy! The truth is, your kids don’t need Pinterest perfect chore charts. They need understandable charts.

I also don’t expect perfection from my kids. I know that their beds will have wrinkles and I’ll have to help them put toothpaste on their toothbrushes. In reality, it’s just for practice right now. They need to learn to take responsibility for their own spaces and help out around the house because they are part of our family. It’s less about the product and more about the process at this point.

My hope is that one day they won’t need a chore chart and will be able to look around the house or yard and just see what needs to be done. That may or may not ever happen. For now, I’m going to make a concerted effort just to remember to enforce the darn chore chart!

How old are your children and what chores do they do? How do you keep track? What has worked and what hasn’t for your family?  Leave your answers in the comments!

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