Sunday, May 06, 2012

Childhood Chores

Asher giving vacuuming a try. That spot was VERY clean...then I finished. :)
When I was a kid, I remember doing chores. Now remember, I grew up on a farm, so I may have started doing chores from the time I could walk. Really, I don't remember how old (or young) I was, but I do recall not liking chores. I remember cleaning my Dad's bathroom (which was always gross and a major undertaking. Funny, he only had a single sink and a shower, but I remember it taking me FOREVER to clean it!), giving the dog, Angel, a bath (I so hated doing this and many times cried my way through it. Now, I wash our dog so often she is like the 4th child I always wanted but a little messier),  mowing the lawn (which I did in my bikini on a public highway, on a riding lawn mower, and my parents have so many acres to mow that it took 1 1/2 days to mow. NO JOKE! I liked the tan, but I am sure I will look 90 years old by the time I am 40 since I never wore a hat or wore sunscreen), walked beans (I believe my Dad may have paid me some for this grueling job that I again cried through. Yes, I know, I was and am a total baby), and lastly, cleaning the chicken house (something I had to do once all by myself as a punishment. I took me hours and I smelled like crap for days I am sure. I again, cried through the entire experience. Funny, I have no idea what I did to deserve such a fun experience and memory, but I am sure my Mom knows. :) ).

So, in my mind, whatever I come up with for chores will give our kids a sense of responsibility over entitlement, something I see most kids having now adays. I believe household chores will help the kids by giving them a sense of household responsibility, perhaps lead them to taking better care of their things and our home, gives me time to bond with them as I help them complete their tasks, and teaches the kids to do important tasks like cooking, cleaning, doing their own laundry (eventually). Kids who do chores around the house are found to be better team players, co workers and spouses. This is especially important for Asher (in the helping out respect and Asher will be the best husband ever, right?!). The kids actually love to help out, boosting their self esteem, giving them an important since of family pride. By giving the kids chores like laying out their clothes for school, packing their lunches, etc, will give the kids a sense of personal responsibility and foster independence (something Alivia, especially, needs). And, lastly, it helps me out so we can play more and do more fun things together!

As I have been known to say before, Alivia is lazy, unmotivated, lacking a passion. So, as summer approaches, I decided that all the kids will have to have at least one main responsibility they will need to complete prior to going or having playdates, going to the pool, or basically going any place fun outside of the home - every week.

Alivia is approaching 8 years old and is clearly old enough for more responsibility. We are hoping to get her moving and make her more motivated, goal oriented even, like her parents. Alivia is already responsible (as are Addison and Asher) for making her bed and having her room cleaned up every morning prior to breakfast. I figure if they keep their rooms clean daily, than there is never the big push to clean hoards of stuff in their rooms. This method helps somewhat. There room is usually picked up, but it still needs the occasional organizing. Alivia is pretty good at the morning task, and usually makes her bed and picks up her room without even a reminder.

Alivia's new responsibility is to clean the kids' bathroom and collect all the trash every Monday. Today was day one. She was excited (as kids generally are for anything new) to get started. I taught her how to clean the toilet. Funny, she found it gross (afterwards, I went to the store to pick her up her very own cleaning gloves :)). Then she cleaned the sinks, bathtub/shower, then the mirrors. Lastly, she was excited to clean the floor. Alivia has clearly watched me enough to know what to do as she picked up the rag and went to cleaning rather quickly. I was impressed with her precision. I did not feel like I needed to clean up after her. I'm sure Alivia will need guidance for at least the first 4-6 times, but after that she will be a pro.

Addison, who is only 5, is to clean the main level bath, which includes a toilet and a sink. Addison was only excited to do this as she saw Alivia's excitement. Addison quickly lost interest. Addison, being only 5, needs total guidance. I will probably have to walk her through this for months, cleaning beside her. She found it funny all the things we have to clean in such a small space (like the light switch and the door -she was amazed that we have to clean that. Seriously, they are probably dirtier than the toilet sometimes!). She did okay.

Asher is only 4. He is quick good at picking up his toys and putting them away after use, especially if he gets to watch Netflix afterwards. Asher is to help clear the dinner table, which is usually does without asking anyway. I was going to put him on trash duty, but I soon realized that was too much for his tiny little frame at 4 years old to do. Helping me to clear the table is a big enough job for him, and he likes to help me. He is such a sweet boy, after his Daddy, and so helpful. I want him to continue to like helping and not overwhelm him too early.

Let the chores begin. The reward...playdates, fun places to visit and visits to the pool just to name a few. Oh, it will be so worth it!
Alivia, scrubbing the bathroom floor.


Gina and Derek said...

This is a great post! I have been struggling with what chores to give them, I might try bathrooms! Also, the daily room pick up is a great one:) thanks for posting!

The Austin Life said...

Hi Gina! Just saw this. So, are your lids helping u keep a clean home? :) miss seeing u guys!