Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Children's Chores

(the kids washing the window)

A quick progress report on my efforts to get my family more involved in household chores:

  • The chore charts work. They work if I make them work and check them daily and remind people what their chores are.
  • If I want my husband to wash dishes, I have to accept that he is going to do it at 9:30 or later at night, after the kids are in bed and cutting into whatever "adult" time we are going to have for the evening. He likes to sit and rest and either watch TV or play his nintendo ds after dinner, not jump right up to clean the kitchen. It drives me crazy to see those dishes sitting there waiting, and I like to have some time with him after the kids go to bed, but if I want him to wash the dishes, I will have to compromise both of those things.
  • When the kids do some chores, I have to do them with them and it's actually MORE work for me. But this is probably the only way to teach them.
  • I also have to accept a lower, or at least different, standard on any chore that someone else completes. I'm trying not to nit-pick their efforts too much.
  • There is a LOT of whining and moaning about the horror of having to do things like wash dishes and take out the trash. I hope this will lessen with time, and right now I'm trying to block it out by humming my "happy song" really loud and driving them crazy.


  1. I relate (though *I* am the one who can't touch a dish right after dinner and tends to do the dishes right before bed...in my case, however, my darling wife is worse...she likes to get them done right after dinner but if she can't, she's been known to leave them for the morning because she fades fast in the evening.).

  2. When my kids moan and groan, it's really hard to resist saying, "I know! I've been doing it for 30 years!" But I don't want to guilt them into helping me, I just want them to pitch in and be responsible!

    I know what you mean about it actually being more work to involve the kids! But, it will pay off in the long run!

  3. This is really long but I'm pasting a comment I found on The Pionner Woman blog regarding chores. I loved it, minus the spanking.

    "I have four boys, aged 13,8,7,6. We too have tried a various assortment of chore charts but none of them ever stick. What does “stick” is the simple fact that my kids know it takes work to keep a house running smoothly, and that mommy NEEDS them to work in order to keep me from going bonkers. I just say “Sam, unload the dishwasher, Max, you help” and off they go, a few grumbles because I’ve interrupted their life, but they obey. When they don’t? Usually I give them a time limit in which to finish it otherwise they get a spank for willful disobedience. But seriously, once they know a spanking is at the end of that disobedient road, they hurry up and do what I’ve asked them to do. So what DO they do?
    Unload and reload the dishwasher. Put away food. Clear and set the table. Clear school supplies off the table at end of day. Pick up their own toys. Pick up trash. Take out trash from around the house. Take trash out to can/street. Get in the mail. Gather up dirty laundry. Start laundry, move laundry. Vacuum bedrooms. Wipe walls, clean windows, dust living room. Wet mop floors. Wipe bathroom sinks. Wipe toilet seats. Make their beds. Clean up their rooms. Feed and water pets. Take pets outside.
    Now, they don’t do what they do perfectly, but it’s more than nothing, and they don’t do these things every day. They also don’t have the same chores every day. Some days Max is unloading the dishwasher and Sam is wiping the bathroom sinks, some days Noah is in charge of laundry and Jack is gathering up trash. It just depends on who’s nearest when I realize something needs to get done, I spot the mess, I spot the kid, and there you have it, a kid is now assigned a job. It’s working for me and I think the benefit for them is that they don’t complain “it’s not my job” because everything is everybody’s job.
    They don’t get points or stars or stickers or allowance. They get the feeling of being needed and wanted, the feeling of belonging somewhere and they get my sincerest appreciation of them and their hard work."