As the Mini-Mumblers are getting a bit older I’ve started to introduce some chores around the house. I think this is a good lesson for them. It will teach them household chores and responsibility – knowing that they need to take care of their things and the place in which they live.
Doing research for this blog many “Parenting Experts” don’t recommend financial reward for chores. I disagree, it has taught my children (9 & 6) the value of money and they love to get their money out to be able to buy their own bit of “tat”, magazine or pack of sweets when otherwise I would have said no! It is also cheaper than a cleaner and gives me a helping hand around the house.
Having spoken to friends and colleagues the differing levels of chores undertaken by their kids is staggering.
My 2 differ so much on the doing of chores front… The younger, my little girl is much happier to help out with the washing up, tidying her bedroom and feeding the cat than her older brother (guess that must be a girl thing?) but add a 50p into the mix and he is much more focused than she is! (An age thing I guess?)
Having made a start on their chores I realised the following:
If you are going with paid chores either keep a chart of what is owed or keep a purse full of change!
My kids like to see their reward after completing each chore. This works out great so long as you have a stash of 20p’s and 50p’s in the house. It probably wasn’t my best idea to start paying them after each chore as that’s now what they are used to. I would suggest keeping a tally and paying them their weekly earning on the same day each week.
They are children, it’s not going to be perfect
Watching my little girl putting some wet washing onto the radiators for the first time had me sitting on my hands to stop me jumping in and taking over. Yes, the clothes were not perfectly straight, much more could have been fitted on each radiator and some items would need an iron (I DO NOT IRON!!) but her little face, once she was finished, was priceless. She was so pleased with herself and very happy she had been helpful.
They learn from the chores
You may think they are too young for chores but paving the way for chores at a later date makes it easier to implement them when you do think they are ready. I started the children clearing their own plates and bowls from the table about a year ago, at the time I didn’t think of it as a chore, just something they were old enough to be doing! It took a few months but it became a habit rather than something I was having to keep reminding them to do. This has lead to them helping to empty the dishwasher so they have somewhere to clear their plates too. Result!
Keep at it
Being consistent with the chores they have to undertake is key. As soon as you let one slip, even just for the day, puts you on the back foot the next time you expect it to be done.
Be clear with your instructions
Saying clean your room to 2 different children will undoubtedly have 2 different outcomes. If you want the carpet clear to hoover make sure you say “Once you have finished I am going to hoover so the floor needs to be clear”.
Only set chores you know they know how to do
There is no point saying to a child go and polish your shoes if they have never been taught to polish a shoe! Don’t get me wrong, in our house, a shoe “Polish” is a quick wipe over with a baby wipe and something they can definitely do themselves!
Have set times for the bigger chores
Bedroom cleaning for us is a Saturday afternoon job, they have so much going on after school that asking them to undertake a chore of this size at any other point of the week would be unfair. Chores such as taking out the empty milk bottles, which can be done in a couple of minutes, can be more flexible and this gives them a bit more control which my kids relish.
Where can I go next?
My next plan is for rugby boot cleaning. I hate it!!! I haven’t worn the boots and got them muddy, I haven’t filled them with astroturf bits – what is up with them? Do they breed and spread themselves about the house?? How do they reappear days later once you think you have got rid of them all?? BAIN of my life!
Both kids love their rugby sessions so adding the boot cleaning/emptying chore once we get home when the enjoyment of their session is still fresh in their minds seem like the logical way to go!
Setting their bed & opening their curtains – this is one I have been TRYING but failing to implement for over a year. My daughter has fully embraced this as part of her morning routine, my son on the other hand…. EPIC FAIL!
Putting away their toys – this one can be started early by making the clearing up of their toys part of the game. “Let’s see how quickly we can put the building blocks back into the box”
Taking out the milk bottles – This is a new one for us, the kids are now old enough to know not to run with a glass bottle and I always make sure the bottles are rinsed and dried before they kids pick them up. They only ever carry 2 at a time.
Bring down their washing – I was so sick of picking up dirty washing off the kid’s bedroom floors I put a small second wash basket upstairs. It is not too big to carry down and can’t get too full to become too heavy.
Putting in a wash – I always ensure I put the pod or washing liquid in for safety reasons.
Putting the washing out to dry on the radiator – not sure how this will work during the warmer months, neither can reach the washing line!
Folding the dry washing – this is a chore we do together, they fold, I pile.
Putting away their washing – I make this easier by piling the washing in different piles relating to the drawer the clothes live in. Putting all the PJ’s together makes putting them away much easier for the kids – they simply have to select a pile from the stairs, open one drawer and put the whole pile in.
Image source: Wise Buys
Tidy their rooms.
Setting the table – Once I taught my daughter the “correct way” to lay the table it has been her thing. We now get pudding spoons every meal… wishful thinking!!
Clearing the table.
Stacking the dishwasher.
Emptying the dishwasher – any objects which live in higher cupboards are simply piled on the worktop or passed to me to put away.
Feeding a pet – this one is an easy win for them so not a “paid” chore, simply open the pouch & pour.