16 October 2012

Chores Or No Chores

Who likes chores? Well, I am not a big fan, but I understand that they need to get done. Now the question is HOW much do I want my kids to be involved with them.

Coqui is my big helper - he always has been. When it was just him, it happened automatically that we included him in all our activities, from washing the car in the driveway to planting a tree in the backyard. He is handyman material: he can swing a hammer, hold a drill, and does part of the lawn mowing with the Hubby. 

He is doing it all by choice and by free will.

I have mixed feelings about chores.

As a child, I hated them. As far as I remember, I never had a choice and was forced to do them. I made who I am today. So try to 'make me do something' - good luck with that. Because I like my free will and being 'forced' to do something just doesn't feel right to me...


... I do want my kids to learn that sometimes, we do NOT have a choice. The dishes in our house are not cleaning themselves, the laundry is not folding itself, and the groceries are not flying in by the front door. These are all things that need to be done - on a daily basis.

I want my kids to learn that lesson.

But how can I do it without forcing them?

I have heard of families that have these chore charts, or life-size calendars with everyone's jobs, done either by day or by month. I have never felt the necessity of having one. Coqui has never had to 'work on' helping, he always volunteered (partly because he is my obedient child).

Now that I have three, and at least one of them that is so much LESS willing to listen and obey, I might have to reconsider it? Coqui is my oldest, and being the person he is, I just don't want him to get labeled as the 'good cleaner-upper', who cleans up for everyone else. His sister needs to learn that lessons as well, as being part of our family. She needs to do HER part, too. But I really don't want to do chore charts.......

Also, I am against making different chores for boys and girls. I grew up in a family where my brother and I were treated equally. I learned how to hang up a picture (using a hammer and/or drill), and my brother had to dry dishes or hang up wet clothes. I can bring out the garbage myself, I do not need a man to do it for me. And the Hubby is a much better cook than I am. So I think it is important for both sexes to learn to take care of themselves.

So far, it worked to just let them do what they wanted to help with. Cleaning toys is a job that the children need to get done! When we struggled with that in the past, a threat that I would throw away any toy that is not cleaned up, has done it's magic! (I never had to throw away a toy!)
And when my kids WANT to help, I let them. Coqui is the only one in this house who washes my floors in the kitchen and dining room - I don't do it (because he literally begs me to do it for me!). Peanut is eager to help me with hanging up the wet clothes, so I let her. When I told her the other day that I could not play with her because I needed to fold their clean and dry clothes, she was eager to do it all by herself. So I did sit back and only helped when needed. So from now on, I told them, I would like them to put away their own clothes..... and so far, they are willing to do it!

So for now, I think, I just have to come up with new ways HOW they can help, instead of 'forcing' them to help with chore charts.

How do you folks do it at home?


C. Beth said...

I am not very organized with this...and I still don't know how I want to do it! Hmm...this isn't a very helpful answer, but it's honest!