For those of you playing along...(if you've just joined us you can get caught up a bit here) we are on week 26 of the book Queen of the Castle: 52 weeks of encouragement for the uninspired, domestically challenged or just plain tired homemaker.
This week's chapter is entitled "Chore Time: Training the Children". I agree with the author, Lynne, about the fact that while it's more fun to ask the kiddos to help you make chocolate pudding than it is to sort through toys and books some things just need to be done. If we don't teach our children how to do those tasks they will flounder in their adult years. Either that or pay someone else to do them. (That's not a good idea!)
"Anything you do to prepare them for the future is a way of saying 'I love you.'" (Tim Kimmel in Little House on the Freeway: Help for the Hurried Home).
Lynne shares her multiple frustrations in trying to get her children to do chores. Various charts, bribes, schemes, etc. I feel her pain and frustrations. I flounder at times in getting the troups to go forth and conquer the mound of toys, books, games, etc. I remember when our oldest turned 7 and I had this light-bulb moment "Wow! He could be productive in cleaning the home! Hmm...I wonder if his sister could, too?". Thus began the chore chart. We have a list of daily things they need to do in the home from the now teenager down to the four year old. (Even the 2 year old takes joy in helping out, too! Score!!) Then we have what we call Monday/Friday chores. These are more in-depth cleaning assignments like stocking toilet paper, vacuuming, mopping, dusting, etc. The reason we do these on those certain days is we usually have company at some point during the weekend and then on Monday because after said company, church activities and (depending on the weather) how busy and outdoorsy we were the house could use a pick-me-up! If you all are interested in this chart I can post it here or e-mail it to you (Just drop me a line.). We also have a point system at our house for rewards and discipline. That helps keep the chores momentum going.
Here are a few suggestions the author gives to motivate your children to help with chores:
*Be clear about what you'd like done (without yelling and nagging!) and when you'd like the work completed.
*You may get help faster by saying no to the TV, computer time, or going outside until chores are finished.
*Clean with your kids so they don't feel like they're getting "punished". I have found that if I am working right along with them (even near them with a different task) they work so much better with a cheerful attitude!
*Make a reward clear. "Once we finish our chores, I'll take you for some ice cream (or the park, or the library, etc.)." The other day our cherry tree had a lot of ripe cherries on it. I sent the kiddos out with buckets and they picked quite a few. Once they got inside they were very grumpy about pitting them. I made it a competition. Boys were against girls (I usually mix up the teams). Each team had the same amount of cherries to pit. The team to have their bucket pitted first won ice cream sundaes with all the toppings they wished (good thing the toppings were on sale and I had coupons!). The losing team got ice cream with only one topping of their choice. Let me tell you they pit cherries at lightning speed and they did a great job, too! The girls were done first and then helped the boys finish their cherries. Team work with a reward is a great thing!
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"She watches over the affairs of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness." (Proverbs 31:27 NIV)