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Yes, of course my children should be involved in taking care of the house! We all know that it builds responsibility and work ethic…yadda yadda. But, more importantly, it makes them feel an important part of the family unit. It makes them feel like they are worth something. It builds self esteem.
Great….so if I don’t do this…or don’t do this well…I’m screwing up my kids!!!! #$%& (don’t you love it that I’m not subjecting you to the real words I want to use?)…just what I need! MORE GUILT! Alright, shaking off the guilt…shaking off the bad memories of chore charts and stars and things that didn’t work. Rolling up my sleeves. Big breath. I CAN DO THIS!
There are a few important keys to making this work.
1. Choose chores that are easy enough for the child.
2. Teach the child how to do the chore…the right way. Do it with them the first few times. Watch them the next few times. Check in the few times after that. They will be able to do it alone…someday…I hope.
3. Choose chores that really, honest-to-goodness must be done in the house on a daily basis. I must care that this particular thing gets done or I…well, won’t care…and then I won’t make sure they do it!
4.Choose the age-appropriate and right amount of chores for each child….don’t be unrealistic or I’ll just be disappointed and give up on the whole thing. It’s like starting a diet. Am I really going to stick to a 1000 calorie diet with NO chocolate?
In our house each child gets a whopping $3 allowance each Saturday. The 12-year-old is responsible for the kitchen trash and daily unloads the dishwasher. He, of course, is also required to take care of his own gerbil and guinea pig and keep his room clean. He washes, dries, and puts away his own laundry. The nine-year-old is responsible for her cat (including the litter box!), guinea pig and fish. She helps me with the table every day and once a week empties a few trash cans and cleans a bathroom. She is also my right-hand-girl every day when I take care of the livestock. The seven-year-old takes care of her hamster and cat (again…that includes the litter box!), empties trash cans, mops the house and cleans a bathroom once a week.
One day they will do all the cleaning, mowing and cooking ;). We look forward to that day.