Saturday, October 13, 2007

Teaching children responsibility

Do your kids do chores?

I was lining up the Saturday morning "chore chart" today when I got to thinking about the reactions I've received from many parents when I tell them about the chores my kids are responsible for. Most are envious that I get my kids to do these things, and want to know how I do it.

First, let me say that I was brought up in a home where everyone was responsible for something. We didn't have a "chore chart" (I don't think that term had been coined yet back in the dark ages when I was young....kinda like "play date" you know?). But every Saturday morning, my sister and I were responsible for dusting and vaccuming the living room/dining room, cleaning the bathrooms, and cleaning our bedroom. We also were in charge of cleaning the kitchen table off and washing (by hand) the dishes, drying them, and putting them away (no air drying for my mom!).

I will admit that assigning chores for my kids wasn't my idea. I'm a bit OCD, and like things done a certain way....MY way!

But one weekend many years ago, when my sister was visiting from out of town, she witnessed how I never sat still, I wiped up and swept up and dusted up and folded up and cleaned up non-stop around my covey of kids, while they sat contentedly in front of the television. She not so subtly pointed out that "those kids need to help out around here!"

So, thanks to Aunt Brenda, the chore chart was instituted! (See, it's never too late to get started.)

During the summer months, when the kids don't have school, they all know that in addition to practicing at least 10 math problems every morning (THAT's another blog!), they have to check which chore they are responsible for that day, and complete it to the best of their ability (or they'll just have to do it again), before they can go outside and play, or even before they can turn on the television (I'm the meanest mom in the world! Just ask my kids!).

The chores aren't difficult, or even time-consuming. Most take only 5-10 minutes. But it's just fact that they are contributing. That they are helping out. That they are pitching in as a responsible member of the family.

Here are some of the jobs they're responsible for:
  • unload the dishwasher
  • dust the furniture
  • vaccum the living room
  • sweep the kitchen floor
  • windex the appliance fronts in the kitchen
  • clean the bathroom sink and counter
  • clean the front steps
  • pick up the toys in the playroom
  • vaccum the playroom
  • shake the rugs

Some days they trade chores, which is fine. Just so everyone does one, in addition to making their beds and picking up their dirty laundry.

During the school year, the chore chart is only done on the weekends. (Except for bed-making and dirty laundry picking-up.)

It's a great system that works well for my family. And, as a fellow stay-at-home dad once said to me, "Wow! What a great idea! But what do YOU do all day?" (Right!)



Christmas cards made from your child's artwork.


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