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View Full Version : If your kids do chores, why do they do them?



Penguin
12-07-2011, 04:22 PM
What motivates them?

Do you tie it to pocket money or other financial reward? Do you do sticker charts? Some other form of reward? Or are there negative consequences for not doing some agreed-on level of helping out?

Or are they just wonderful, helpful angels who always do as they're asked with a smile on their face? ;)

I don't know how to get my kids to help. I put this in Homeschooling Issues because, honestly, if my kids went to school all day I'd have time to do all the housework myself and they wouldn't be making so many messes anyway. Trying to get homeschooling done and keep up with housework is ... difficult. I'm not talking polishing baseboards or anything either, I mean the basics -- unloading the dishwasher because we need dishes to eat off; starting/moving/putting away laundry; picking up toys and books and clothes and shoes and torn-up bits of paper off the floor so we can occasionally vacuum before the inside of our house has more pine needles than outside; cleaning the cat litter so the cats don't pee on the clean laundry we haven't put away yet; taking out the garbage and recycling before it takes over the floor.... you know. Basic maintenance.

I have just implemented a fancy chore card system, where I've made colorful laminated cards for all the chores that need to be done, with velcro on the back, and I stick them to the Chore Board in the morning. The kids and I each pull cards off, do the chore, then put the card in our named pocket. So I can see who's doing what and how much, but have no idea what I'm going to do with that information! I don't really want to turn it into a competition, necessarily... So far, they're excited just by the cards and pockets, but I imagine the novelty will wear off fast.

I'm interested in any ideas. I will say that I'm not sure anything rewards- or consequences-based is going to work, because it seems like DS7 is very capable of deciding that he doesn't care about the rewards/consequences and therefore doesn't have to do the work. (I just realized last night this reminds me of how I deal with anxiety around an identifiable issue -- I figure out the worst case scenario, decide how I can be OK with that, and then can let go of the anxiety. I wonder, in fact, if his reluctance to do chores is to do with anxiety somehow?)

But I have no idea what else we might do, because I can't just implant the gene that makes them wonderful, helpful angels who always do as they're asked with a smile on their face.

ercswf
12-07-2011, 04:28 PM
We have mandatory you live here you must do them chore list for each kid. THen there is a list I make up weekly of tasks that are up for grabs money wise.

You don't want to earn the extra money then fine don't but you must do your other list no questions. First half of mandatory list is done upon waking and the second half is done before bed. Any other chores are done as they have time or want the money.

dbmamaz
12-07-2011, 04:36 PM
I am not strict, meaning the house is usually a mess, and for me thats part of it - chores arent overwhelming. so toys stay on the floor a pretty long time (we dont have little ones any more, of course), until i say 'you guys need to come pick this room up', usually before we can do something else we want to do.

regular chores are also simple.
dishwasher - they have to. If they dont i'll kick them off of computers. They now do it pretty fast when asked.
laundry- i wash and everything once a week. Orion helps with the sorting. I put everyone's laundry in their own basket and they have to put it away. Raven does 5 pieces a day all week, Orion does it all at once.
setting the table - yeah, I just say they have to when its time and there are consequences if they dont.

im really a slob and cant keep up w the house myself, anyways, so its hard to keep up w making them do it, either. We make them clean their rooms when there is a need - like it cant be walked through or they are having freinds over. but really i dont get around to cleaning much unless someone is coming over, either.

Stella M
12-07-2011, 04:42 PM
They do daily chores because I'm not their servant and everyone needs to do their bit in keeping the household running. They don't get paid. You just do it.

My older children earn money working outside the home. My ds can earn money doing 'extra' jobs, like polishing all the boots, if he needs money for things like Christmas presents or is saving for something he really wants. I pay low, dh pays high :)

But there is zero pay for daily stuff. No rewards, no charts, no punishments, just an expectation that help will be provided in running the home. I did take a lot of time with the girls when they were younger to teach them how to do those jobs and now I'm teaching ds. The benefit for the kids is a sane mother and a decent house.

Eta We got into chores when we were really mega Charlotte Mason...her idea is that you just choose something and do it often enough to make it a habit. So in the morning the girls dry the dishes and sweep the kitchen ( too many Laura and Mary books at a young age ) and maybe for 10 days or so I would bring them to the kitchen, explain the job, give feedback on the job, thank them for the job. it was time consuming but they learned to do the job well and got into the habit of doing it. Same with room cleaning, vacuuming, laundry etc. Teach the job, give feedback, stay with them and remind/demonstrate/cheer lead until it becomes a habit.

Honestly, it's just not a fair or possible expectation that a homeschooling parent will do all the cleaning as well. Homeschooling is like having a full time job; the rest of the family just needs to help.

If my kids wouldn't help I'd go on strike until they did; withdrawal of labour is a valid negotiating tool...

Busygoddess
12-07-2011, 04:54 PM
My kids do chores for 2 reasons.

1) We've discussed the fact that this is OUR house, OUR stuff, OUR mess, therefore OUR responsibility to maintain it. They help make the messes around here, so they should help clean the messes. We each have our own jobs. The kids see me doing housework and their dad doing housework, so they don't feel singled out. Some of our chores rotate, so it isn't always one person doing it. They each have to clean their own bedroom. They clean the school room - one day a week they do it together, then they each have to do it once a week on their own. The same goes for the upstairs hallway & the staircase. Laundry, laundry area, litter boxes, and dishes rotate. The kids take turns helping me with the office & living room - each kid helps with each room once a week. The variety of not doing the same thing every day, combined with the routine of doing the same chores weekly seems to be a good balance for us. Most of the time, the kids & dh are good about getting their housework done.

2) Privileges are earned, not given. Non-educational TV time, non-educational computer time, going to friends' houses, spending the night at someone's house, using my phone, are all things that we don't HAVE to allow. They are privileges, not rights. If they want to do those things, they have to earn them by living up to their responsibilities (chores & schoolwork) and having a good attitude. By good attitude, I don't mean that they always have to have a smile on their face or anything. However, if dd asks if she can go on FB, & I say not until you do a load dishes, she needs to go do the load of dishes properly & without an attitude. If she goes in to the kitchen, slams all the cabinet doors while putting away the dishes, slams stuff around while doing the dishes, mumbles in her snotty tone the whole time about how much she hates dishes, breaks a dish because of her overly rough treatment of them, and stomps around the kitchen, I'm not likely to let her go on FB or do much of anything else. Instead, she'll get a trip to her room until she's done with her attitude, and will likely lose the possibility of FB for the whole day. There are times when dd will go very long periods of time without privileges because of her attitude and/or refusal to do school or chores. That's her choice. Those privileges eventually become important enough again for her to kick her butt into gear. Negative consequences, i.e. 'you lose a, b, and c if you don't do this,' don't work for us at all, especially with dd. She'll just not do whatever it was, lose a, b, and c, and then scream at us about how it's all our fault and that her whole life sucks (ah, the joys having an emotional girl with ADHD & Bipolar).

hockeymom
12-07-2011, 05:17 PM
Or are they just wonderful, helpful angels who always do as they're asked with a smile on their face?

Pretty much this.

DS helps around the house because he lives here and helps make the messes. I don't ask a lot of him (secretly I like to clean the house and I don't mind doing laundry) but I do force myself to ask him to do basic stuff. He sets the table at dinner time and helps clear it after, he puts away his laundry, he'll gladly help make dinner if I think to ask, he likes to sweep and dust and clean as needed. He really does. He likes to be of use, and I probably don't ask enough of him. But neither do I feel overwhelmed by housework, and when I do, we all get involved (or more commonly, I'll take a free opportunity and happily go on a cleaning spree myself).

When we started giving him an allowance, we agreed it would not be tied to "chores". I don't even like the word "chores" and don't use it at all myself. The allowance was given to him because he is growing up and showing himself as a responsible young person with money and in general, deserving of some personal financial freedom and opportunity to continue to make good decisions.

As far as helping around the house goes, we have never had a chore chart and never set expectations beyond his comfort or ability level. Obviously I am the parent home the most so most of the housework is my responsibility; however, it is up to all of us to contribute what we can to our home. DS knows that and expects nothing less.

dbmamaz
12-07-2011, 07:22 PM
btw, Heron helped if i asked her, no problems, until teen years, at which point I felt it was safter for the general well-being of the household for her to stay in her room as much as she wanted to. Orion needs constant reminders, checklists, consequences. Raven needed a lot of consequences when younger, and still the occasional reminder that we could bring them back if we wanted, but he is much better than Orion at remembering - i heard them playing together this morning, and as they agreed to do something else, Raven said "But should we put this away first?" Orion agreed, and assigned tasks, to which Raven agreed. But Orion never would have thought of it on his own.

but it sure is awesome to overhear them getting along so well!

farrarwilliams
12-07-2011, 07:29 PM
Oh, thank goodness Hockeymom said it first! My kids also usually just help whenever I ask. They're not always total angels about it; sometimes they give a little grumble or what to know how long a task will take. And they are just 7 so cleaning up a space is often an inefficient process for them. But they also clean up on their own quite often and they usually don't even grumble.

We don't have daily chores, unless you count things like picking up after yourself or clearing your plate or putting your clothes in the hamper. I don't ask them to do too much. Once a week or so I get them to clean their rooms. Once every two or three weeks, I make them clean their messy basement playroom. When things are messy, I just say, pick this up for me or take those things back to the shelf or whatever and they do.

Cara, your story about Heron scares me a little. That's sort of what I think will happen. Suddenly, they'll just stop doing what I ask. AHHHHHHH!

AddlepatedMonkeyMama
12-07-2011, 07:56 PM
We don't call them "chores" but the kids have to pick up their rooms and put all their stuff away in other rooms every night, take their dishes to the kitchen after every meal, make their beds (most school mornings--we're kind of lax other days), and help out with other small things (carrying groceries, putting silverware away, etc.) when asked. I'm resisting the idea of tying chores to an allowance (my kids don't get one right now). I want the things they do now to be good habits, not chores, and I would rather foster a helpful attitude than "pay" them for completing tasks.

Stella M
12-07-2011, 07:57 PM
No one has stopped here so far! If I know that one of the girls has had a rough day/night/whatever, I will give them a break from chores. Sometimes dh or I give them a random break. But the expectation doesn't change - you live here, you work here, I am not the house elf. I would find it unacceptable for them to stop helping out, except in the case of illness or other temporary breaks; my aim is for the work to gradually become evenly spread out between all household members...it's good for them! They will leave home knowing how to run a home, which is a handy skill for any independent adult to have.

Housework is where I leave unschooling far, far behind and adopt a 'train them up' conservative ideology. I absolutely refuse to have anyone in this house think wife/mommy/homeschooler means housewife. Last time I checked I wasn't married to the house.

Oh, and we don't live in a spotless house. I don't make the kids scrub the skirting boards every morning and dust every afternoon. But even the basics of keeping a house in tolerable working order are too time consuming to negotiate over.

Busygoddess
12-07-2011, 08:12 PM
No one has stopped here so far! If I know that one of the girls has had a rough day/night/whatever, I will give them a break from chores. Sometimes dh or I give them a random break. But the expectation doesn't change - you live here, you work here, I am not the house elf. I would find it unacceptable for them to stop helping out, except in the case of illness or other temporary breaks; my aim is for the work to gradually become evenly spread out between all household members...it's good for them! They will leave home knowing how to run a home, which is a handy skill for any independent adult to have.

Housework is where I leave unschooling far, far behind and adopt a 'train them up' conservative ideology. I absolutely refuse to have anyone in this house think wife/mommy/homeschooler means housewife. Last time i checked I wasn't married to the house.

I fully agree. I have told the kids that I am not the maid. I don't get paid to do their chores. I have also told them that if they want to pay me, I'll happily do their chores, but I'm expensive & it would cost them each $500 per week:_o:. They've never taken me up on that. :D:

I want them to be able to take care of themselves & their own homes. I don't plan on visiting them once a week to clean for them, so they need to get used to doing it on their own.

Gabriela
12-07-2011, 09:30 PM
Every morning - make bed and tidy bedroom
Every evening - wash dinner dishes
In general - helps with other stuff whenever it's reasonable (like not when he has friends over, or is in the middle of a project, or during his break times)

We live with volunteers, so he's always been exposed to the idea of community.
He does his jobs knowing that we all work hard to keep our house and family happy, and since he lives here too, and makes messes, and consumes food, he chips in too.
Definitely no pocket money or special treats for doing his part.
And on the days he doesn't feel like it, I tell him that I won't feel like cooking dinner tomorrow.

bcnlvr
12-07-2011, 09:49 PM
Practicing citizenship at the family level is fundamental in our home. We are a team and everyone helps. (BUT: Ds10 likes to clean toilets, so he gets toilets. Everyone else hates that job.) So there is not much rotation of "chores". I don't really call them that anymore. We used to meet for family meeting and divide up all the chores, blah, blah, but it felt artificial and forced. Stickers charts, rewards, and the like were the same way. We got rid of that stuff. Teamwork flows pretty well most of the time now. See an empty cat bowl? Fill it. That sort of thing. Even tooth-brushing is modeled as "good character" (self care is honoring/loving yourself.....). If I am folding clothes and ds6, ds10, or dh walks by, he will usually stop and help fold. I think they realize that there is not a house genie that does everything magically. We still have our moments with ds6 and picking up, but hopefully he will fall in. I guess you can say we folded the chore thing into "love, be loved, and be of service". Wow, that sounds really crunchy, gushy and 12-stepish. I think I may delete this before posting (like I do most of my posts)...

OrganicFrmGrl
12-07-2011, 10:17 PM
No Charts or such here. We all have to pitch in. No allowance for doing what it required. However, DH will give a few $ here and there for extra tasks...going above and beyond. Example, we just got a dairy cow in milk. We were milking for 1 week then DH flew for 3 days. DS helped so much that is was almost like DH was in the barn!!!! He will get some type of reward for that bc he was only required to do his part. Don't get me wrong on day to day stuff, there is some whining and fussing but, it gets done!

Gabriela
12-07-2011, 10:19 PM
I love the sound of that BL.
Not crunchy at all. Quite the way it should be IMO.

Crabby Lioness
12-07-2011, 10:39 PM
Nothing fancy here, we just have chores. We have chores because

1) five people generate a lot of work, and Mom can't do it all by herself

2) learning how to wash dishes is as important as any other skill they learn

3) learning baseline skills like dishwashing leads to learning more interesting skills like cooking,

4) when Mom has help she has more time to make the fancy baked goods everyone loves, and here's the big one,

5) The reward for doing their chores on time is more time for themselves. The chores will get done, but if they don't do them they'll have to stand around watching while Mom and Dad do them. And if Mom and Dad have to do them on top of everything else, there won't be time for doing anything else before bedtime. No funtime, no reading, no TV, nothing.

Avalon
12-08-2011, 12:53 AM
My kids do "chores" because they are taking up space on this planet. We are not royalty, so everyone does their fair share. We split up jobs based on age, ability, and interest. If I ask a child to do something, and they really hate that job, they can negotiate with me. There are an endless number of things to do, so it's pretty easy to trade with me. If they hate vacuuming, they can clean toilets instead.

On a daily basis, the kids pick up after themselves, put away laundry if we've done any that day, get their own breakfast, help get lunch on the table, put their own dishes in the dishwasher and put away food, feed the dog, walk the dog, and whatever random tasks that I ask for help with.

I find that the best "system" for getting them to help is to tie chores to mealtimes. It's not a threatening thing, just logical. Before breakfast, let's empty the dishwasher. When we're done schoolwork, before we start lunch, let's sweep the floor and put on a load of laundry. When we're done lunch, let's change that load of laundry. Before supper, let's tidy up our books and toys and stuff. I call it a "five-minute clean-up." We've done the "five-minute clean-up" so many times that the kids know what to do. It's easier to do it right before or after a meal than to try to interrupt their playtime or reading. Before they are excused from the table, I might say, "don't forget that it's your turn to do ...... whatever."

On Saturday mornings, we do a big clean. We have three bathrooms in the house (main floor, upstairs, and one in my bedroom). I do my own bathroom, and each kid does one. They have to pick everything up off the floors so that Dad can vacuum. I do the kitchen floor. Lately, we can get it all done pretty fast.

In the spring/summer, there is a lot more yard work to do, so I usually put a list of everything that needs to get done on the whiteboard in the kitchen. Everyone puts their name beside two or three jobs. This works GREAT. They can clearly see that there is a LOT of work to do, they can pick their own jobs, they can see that everyone is pitching in.

They're not angelic about it, and we've had a few big blow-ups about it, and occasionally I have to reiterate my position on cooperation and attitude, but I think they basically understand that I am not the household slave, that it's not fair for me to be working while they're sitting on their butts reading novels, and they need to learn how to do this stuff anyway, because in less than 10 years, I won't be doing any of it for them anymore.

Avalon
12-08-2011, 01:00 AM
I have to add this cautionary tale about a certain member of my extended family. There is a 16-year-old boy who does not do ANYTHING for himself. He doesn't set his own alarm clock, shop for his own clothes, do his own laundry, prepare meals, clean up after meals, walk the dog, feed the cat. Apparently, he doesn't even wash his own hair. He won't go to school unless his mother drives him there.

Even my kids think it's ridiculous and don't want to grow up like him.

lakshmi
12-08-2011, 02:18 AM
oh my... the question isn't truly about the chores, it is more about whether or not we're building a relationship or tearing it down.

Giving my children clean laundry, food, and floor sweeps is a gift. I look at it like this. For this time of their lives, they are tiny and young and so many things are new. They have the rest of their lives to wash dishes and clothes and all that jazz. They will have years and years and years of folding fitted sheets why do they have to start at 5, or 6, or 10. Dishes will not wash themselves this is a fact, but little girls in particular will likely wash more dishes than their male counterparts, so why start them on that path at these tender ages.

If they hear me grumbling about it then that will translate to them that cleaning the house is a burden rather than a way to say , "i love you". I say if the mess bothers us then we're required to pick it up. Sometimes I don't want to clean so I don't. The children have that same right too.

Basically if I don't make a huge deal out of it then they won't either. Besides, a chore is something that is dull and hard work, I like to think of them as productive living events... or exciting household tasks, nothing burdensome.

Generally, I believe that if we show kids and ourselves love and respect that the children will learn how to love and respect themselves and others. But if i am nagging nagging and then complaining about the nagging and holding them to task every morning or day or wednesday then, am i being respectful to them or just being a slave driver.

My husband does all the cooking, grocery shopping and about 45-60 percent of kitchen clean up. I do all the laundry and clean the house. I pick up, everyday several times a day. I deep clean one room every ten weeks. Ten rooms, one per week. including closets. I clean the bathrooms each week and vacuum several times a week. My children are required to do nothing. For the past two days they have made their beds, very nicely in fact. But I did not ask them to do this. And I will be surprised if it lasts for another two days. But that being said, I do ask that jackets are hung up and shoes in the shoe places, because that is a safety issue to the rest of the family who needs to walk in the area.

I suppose this idea is more of a "model what you would like to see and hear" rather than coercing them into doing it. We as adults get to decide what quality of life that we want, do we want neat as a pin or a little looser, but as children who are required to do a, b and c then they aren't learning to set their own boundaries and limits. How can we teach them limits if they don't get a chance to practice them. 2 cents.

.
I think I may delete this before posting (like I do most of my posts)... or just navigate away and never post them!!!

Stella M
12-08-2011, 03:28 AM
Well, Lakshmi, I think that post is a little harsh. I'll give you the benefit of the doubt and assume that you are not calling those of us who expect children to participate in housework 'slave drivers'...

I truly feel that not requiring them to contribute as full members of the household could, in fact, be seen as depriving them of a gift; the gift of eventual self-sufficiency and functional adulthood.

I don't think you should equate requiring household participation with nagging. I don't nag my children, I simply request. Often now, having had good habits established, they will initiate cleaning tasks themselves. For example, as I type this they are co-operating to clean up the loungeroom without having been asked. In fact, they are vacuuming. They know that if they want a clean room, they can work together to create one. This sense of agency promotes good relationships - with self, with siblings and with parents.

I refuse to bow to 'unschooling' theory on this one and hover around the house with apron on and duster in hand while my darlings read a novel. As I said before, I am not the house elf and I will not sacrifice myself to a theory that seems untested and dubious and find myself "on the shelf" in later life because I spent my whole time picking up after kids.

A chore is a chore, not a "productive living event' - work exists and must be shared. It disappoints me that the unschooling approach to housework in a family is so staunchly post-feminist ie not feminist in the least.

Anyway, just my return 2c...

kewb22
12-08-2011, 08:01 AM
My kids help because I tell them to help. I can't say they smile about it but they do it. They do have jobs they can do to earn extra $$ if they are so inclined. They know there are some jobs that are done because you are a member of the family and everyone has to do their share. That is just the way it is.

Ayem
12-08-2011, 08:35 AM
My guys get a monthly allowance which is not tied to the chores which they are expected to do. As many have said above, we operate as a unit and everyone has a role to play in keeping our environment a pleasant place to be.

Their daily stuff is basically trash, dishwasher emptying and putting their clothes away. Every Saturday morning we have an hour or so of “house loving” when they get a printed list each of things they need to do, then I leave them to it. They just go through at their own pace and check their items off. Their lists are not too onerous. DD usually takes around ˝ an hour, DS up to 3 hours.(No, he doesn’t have that much more to do, he is just extremely sloooowww...) I just bite my tongue and let him go for it.

They’re usually pretty cooperative. DD occasionally surprises me and goes ahead and does something out of the ordinary, like deciding to wash windows. Strange, delightful child.

inmom
12-08-2011, 09:00 AM
My kids do chores for 2 reasons.

1) We've discussed the fact that this is OUR house, OUR stuff, OUR mess, therefore OUR responsibility to maintain it. They help make the messes around here, so they should help clean the messes. We each have our own jobs. The kids see me doing housework and their dad doing housework, so they don't feel singled out. Some of our chores rotate, so it isn't always one person doing it.

2) Privileges are earned, not given. Non-educational TV time, non-educational computer time, going to friends' houses, spending the night at someone's house, using my phone, are all things that we don't HAVE to allow. They are privileges, not rights.

That pretty much sums it up for us here too. Our kids have been doing some sort of chores since they were 4 (although then it was simply picking up their own toys). But they've been cleaning bathrooms, helping in the kitchen, raking, helping in the garden...since they were 7 or so. They are now teens, so they cook, mow, stack wood, etc.

I believe the most important thing you can do is START EARLY. My kids aren't "just wonderful, helpful angels," they just grew up thinking that's how all families work.

We also have periodic discussions that as one gets older, they get more freedoms. But with the freedom comes more responsibility. They get it....

hreneeh
12-08-2011, 09:21 AM
Keegan (7.5) has chores he has to do because he's part of the family. He has to empty the dishwasher (I'm much to anal to allow him to fill it), fold and put away his clothes and clean his sink and toilet. He gets nothing but the satisfaction of being part of this house. He has had at least one chore since the age of 4. He knows no different. Now sometimes I ask him to do things above and beyond these chores; clean his sisters room (she just turned 3), pull weeds, dust etc. . . and for these he gets paid $. He enjoys this because if he is wanting some $ he just asks some chores I need done, he does them and I pay him. If he doesn't want $, well he doesn't do them and I don't get mad.

His sister is going to be interesting because, while we're in the beginning stages of finding out I believe she may have some sensory issues and other such things, I'm not sure how we will have to modify for her but I'm a firm believer of everyone helping in the running of the household. You live here you should pitch in.

Shoe
12-08-2011, 10:29 AM
I don't ask a lot of my kids, nor am I a tyrant (despite how my response is going to sound), but when I tell the kids to do something, it's not up for discussion-they do it. That doesn't mean they don't argue and procrastinate, whine, etc. but I take the approach that what I've asked will be done. Period. Housework is not on a set schedule here, but when I tell the kids to do it, I'm also participating. We're a family and we all have to chip in to get it done. Their few regular chores-feeding and walking the dog, primarily-they understand that these have to be done, or there will be a much bigger chore to clean up and/or their beloved pet will get sick and die. The walking and feeding the dog has become a definite routine now, so I rarely have to ask them to do that.

Sometimes it would be much easier to do things myself, but they need to learn responsibility. They do get an allowance, but it is only loosely tied to doing their chores. They're certainly not angels, but they are pretty good kids, and I'm pleased with how much they are growing into responsible teens (if that's not an oxymoron!).

CatInTheSun
12-08-2011, 11:31 AM
Your kids are really still quite young. Rather than a big production of a fancy chart (which imo is probably a bigger deal for ps, working parent homes), maybe try making it a lot of bits here and there, kind of sneaky habit-building?

We don't do allowances, though we may at some time. I'm more inclined to give them job books (for bigger, optional, money-earning, special tasks). For daily stuff, I started by asking nicely (and if I ASK, it's optional, if it is not optional, I TELL). I've discussed how we all contribute what we can and all the things dh and I do. I also started early with the idea that the ultimate goal is "net zero impact" so no complaining about cleaning up siblings mess since it "offsets" other things we do. :)

It also helps to subtly make your point, like saying, "While I'm making your breakfast, could you set the table?" or "Could you pick up your toys in the living room, or do I need to stop making XXX for you so I can do it?"

Stsrt with short, simple, FUN things -- like sweeping, mopping, cleaning while a song plays (we loved Bear in the Big Blue House's 'Clean up the house' song, I'd set it to play 5 times and they run around cleaning as much as they can in that time).

Good luck (to us all)!

Penguin
12-08-2011, 12:12 PM
Wow, thanks for all the responses!

Like most of you, I do believe that they live here, so they should help, I just don't know how to make *them* understand that. To be fair, it's mostly the 7yo I would expect much of at this point. And I did start young with him -- at 2 we wanted him to pick up his toys (he could do it at preschool) but we would get huge resistance and fights. And ever since then, pretty much anything I ask him to do he complains about. Whines, moans, cries, fights, dawdles, then gets distracted into playing or reading.... I feel like such an ineffectual parent.

And I have probably been inconsistent. Some days the fights just weren't worth it. Some days the mess doesn't bother me so much so I can ignore it, some days it's easier to just do it all myself. I'm not good at sticking to set routines around mealtimes or anything for myself, so I'm even worse at imposing them on anyone else. Doesn't mean I wouldn't like to do it though! I tend to be a binge cleaner--- I can put up with crap on the floor for so long, then BAM it needs to be cleaned up right now. I would love to be more consistent.

The chore board is just a way to give them a visual representation of all that needs to be done, and a way to choose which things they want to do. The 4yo doesn't read yet (and is more willing to help than the 7yo if he can choose a job), so he needed pictures and I can't draw so I used free clipart. When I've tried asking them to do a particular job, they never want the one I ask them to do. Now they can choose. Funny thing is they choose things I never would've thought to ask -- like they both love all things laundry (except putting it away), and DS7 wants to scoop cat litter!

The best response I've had yet to an explanation of why they need to help was the dawning understanding on DS4's face when he was said putting his clothes away made him grumpy, and I asked him to think about how grumpy putting away 5 people's cloths made *me*. He hasn't complained about it since. :)

inmom
12-08-2011, 01:56 PM
The best response I've had yet to an explanation of why they need to help was the dawning understanding on DS4's face when he was said putting his clothes away made him grumpy, and I asked him to think about how grumpy putting away 5 people's cloths made *me*. He hasn't complained about it since. :)

I've never had to resort to it, but I've heard of moms/parents only doing the chores that related to them--cooked only their meal, cleaned only their dishes, cleaned up only their messes, did only their laundry. In those cases, I believe it only took a couple of days for the children to realize HOW MUCH has to be done around the house.

KristinK
12-08-2011, 10:20 PM
mine aren't allowed to watch tv or have "fluff" computer time until schoolwork is done and they each have 3 chores done (which they pick at random...so whoever picks first gets to choose the easiest ones if they want!)