I have been mothering boys for a long time. The one thing I always share concerning raising boys, is raising boys whose future wives won't hate me. They know how to help out and pitch in. They may not always do it willingly or in a timely manner but they know how to get it done. Here is a simple chore chart if you need to help keep your little ones (or big ones) on track.
It can be so hard sometimes to get children to do their chores that you need for them to do. Many tears are sometime shed and the frustration level gets out of hand. As a mom of 4 boys and a daughter ranging in age from the teenage years to toddler, all my children have jobs they can do. Even the littlest can help. At the end of this article I will share my list of chores that seem to work for my children at different ages. Otherwise, let's talk about how to make this work.
As a teacher I have always been looking for ways to teach a skill or value along with the chores my children do. It may be subtle and they may not even know it's a skill but I do, and that's what matters.
Chores teach responsibility, respect and independence. I've also found that you can toss in some math, language and science by giving chores a fun twist. Here are a few of my ideas and if you have ideas, please link up and share. We can use all the new ideas we can come up with around here.
Laundry: My babies love matching socks with me and sorting their clothes. Each child has a small flexible basket that they can put their own undies and socks into. All they have to do is sort them by size. Matching socks is a 1:1 skill that will come in handy many times. We look for similarities in the socks first, size, style, color, logo's, etc. They can do all this while I fold and stack.
Toy Clean-Up: This is the easiest of all. My boys love for everything to be a contest. So, they each practice counting how many toys they can toss into the toy box. Then we practice stacking and sorting.
Setting the Table: Counting out forks, spoons, cups and plates is a good way to practice counting. They can also set out placemats and napkins and condiments, etc. Counting, counting, counting... Spills? Let your little try different methods for cleaning up to see which materials soak up best.
Dish washing: Practice addition as you let your child put plates and cups into the drying rack or dishwasher. Helping them fit bowls and mugs into the rack also sharpens spatial relations and reasoning.
Water Plants: This is a greenery lesson, in and of itself. It's Environmental Science 101. Kids can learn how plants eat, drink and make their own energy.
Window Washing: Oh, what fun it is to pull the squirt on the bottle and spray. Then to wipe up the drips. Both are helping to refine motor skills, both fine and gross.
Feed the Pets: What better way to teach your child about measurements and conservation. How many scoops of puppy chow will fill the bowl? Will this large scoop over fill kitties tiny bowl?
Take out the Trash: Another environmental lesson. Let your little one sort your recyclables and keep a tally of the amount of waste that is being saved. They are also learning the importance of cleaning up after themselves and strengthing gross motor skills.
These are helpful chores children of any age can participate in.
What chores do your children do at home? Share with us ideas on other ways we can teach our children through chores.
Now, how do we get these amazing chore ideas to actually manifest into actual chore doing?
5 Fool Proof Tips to Make the Chore Charts Work
1. To Each, His (or Her) Own.
Children need to simply understand that they are responsible for their own jobs. Some jobs can be done together but each has their own responsibility, one where no one has to ask (Who's supposed to take out the trash or who's turn is it to unload the dishwasher?) Everyone just knows whose job it is and that way when the job isn't getting done, the whole family knows who to call.
2. Age Appropriate Chores.
You obviously can't ask your toddler to push the garbage can to the road or it may not seem reasonable for the teenager to carry the table settings to the table when a toddler can do it. There are so many benefits to having the chores change as children grow and/or even adding to the list itself. Here are my favorite age appropriate chores.
3. Keep Charts Where Everyone Can See Them
I like to put my children's chore chart on their bedroom doors or on the fridge. I let them decide where is best for them. We then sit down and talk about the chores they can do daily, and once a week. Daily chores are short and sweet, while weekly chores may take longer to accomplish but are necessary in helping the house stay in almost tip top shape. Keeping the chore charts at eye level helps them and me. For the littlest ones I simply work along beside them to help them do their responsibilities.
4. What's In It For Them?
Incentives play a big part in helping teach responsibility. When we work out a job, as adults, we get paid. So, my children get to decide how they earn their rewards. Some want cash, some want time on game systems, some want nothing (which is cool for sure). My oldest now pitches in without anything in return. My middle boys wanted to earn game time so I told them that they could earn every how long it takes to do a chore, we decided a set time for each chore, and then they kept a tally daily. I also through in a reading incentive, if they read, the earn more time. Talk to your children and decide together what incentives they want.
5. Do Your Part
You are the parent. It may seem sometimes like it's easier to just do things yourself but it is worth it in the end to be patient and persistent. Giving into the letting them skip out on chores and responsibilities teaches them that it's okay. Part of our job description as parents is without a doubt that we are to raise able body children into adults that are fully functioning on their own and are able to contribute to society. So, don't let chores slip even if it's exhausting. If chores aren't completed one day, they most likely can roll to the next day but your best bet is to avoid that at all cost.
Finally, remember the end game. You get a few items off your normal check list and your children are learning to respect the work that goes into maintaining a home for the family.