Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Children and Chores

I have never been one to make a chart with all my child’s chores and mark them off daily as they get them done, nor have I been one who pays an allowance for chores. I am in no way saying I feel parents are wrong for making chores lists or paying allowances, this is truly a personal preference and has to be something that works in your family. We do however expect Selena to do various tasks or chores throughout the day. She rejoices with pride when she accomplishes her chores or discovers something new that she is able to do to help us out. I want to instill with Selena that just by being a part of the family brings on responsibility, just like we have responsibilities as we raise her. We do give her money at the end of the week, that she puts in her piggy bank, but this is not award money, or payment for any type of behavior, it is more a sense of what it means to save her money, and pretty soon will come the choices of spending, how to spend it, or to save it. I do want to stress that as Selena gets older, should we ask her or should she choose to make some extra money by doing something that is not required of her, then yes we will sit down and discuss how much she will be paid for this particular job. Those exceptional things are considered jobs, and payment is due.

I will admit getting to this point with Selena where the things that Selena does now as part of our family has not been real easy. We went through a few weeks where Selena just really did not know what to do with herself. She was very testy, and I could see she was struggling inside with her own identity or where she really fit in. We had to just step back and let her discover for herself the things she was capable of doing so that she felt she was helping us. She has taken on so much responsibility basically all on her own. She is proud of her new capabilities, and we can see where she really knows that these little things are helping both Papa and I in many ways. Here is a list of the things that she has both come to know is expected and what she has found that she truly enjoys doing to help us out:

  1. She sets the table before every meal. This includes choosing the appropriate utensils even serving utensils from the drawer. She sets the placemats where they belong along with any hot pads she feels we need accordingly to what food she sees I have prepared.
  2. She makes her bed every morning, and picks up any dirty clothes and puts them in the laundry to be washed. (something we have always expected)
  3. She picks up all her toys and puts them away where they belong, this also includes helping to get school supplies and cleaning up the school supplies. (something we have always expected)
  4. She helps with the washing of the dishes by putting all the silverware away where it belongs in its appropriate place.
  5. After meals she helps to clear the table, by first clearing her plate, scraping any leftovers into the garbage, then placing her plate on the counter to be rinsed, and her silverware in the sink to soak. She also clears the table of all the serving dishes, bringing them in and placing them on the counter so that we can put the food away. As we prepare the leftovers to go in the refrigerator she is always more then willing to put the food away for us.
  6. She gathers up all soiled linens from the table and puts them in the laundry to be washed.
  7. As we wash the laundry, she helps to fold her clothes and Papa’s and my socks, the towels and wash clothes. She then helps to put them away.
  8. She helps with such things as dusting, sweeping, vacuuming, and just general straightening up of the house. (the little things that we always encouraged her to help with)

Many of these chores that Selena does are ones that she herself has discovered that she is capable of doing on her own, I think that is what makes doing them so self rewarding to her. She takes pride in her new responsibilities and capabilities, and believe me we never have to ask her to do many of the things I listed above. If there is anything above that we do have to ask her to do it would be picking up the toys. We are proud of how independent she has become while realizing that she does belong to our family, and wants to do these things to be a larger part of our family unit. It is fun to have her help, want to learn more about the things we do, and want to be a huge part of our family life.

I feel strongly another reason these things come so easy for Selena to just want to do, is I am truly blessed with a Papa who, while he works, he has never had the attitude that the housework is all my responsibility. Papa works right by my side to help keep the home clean, while yes, I do the most of the cleaning and caring for the home, Papa is often found to be washing the dishes, making the bed, helping with the laundry, cleaning floors, or the bathroom, he does these things because he wants to, not because I don’t feel like doing them, but because he feels as responsible for our home and desires to help keep it clean. I feel strongly that due to this, Selena is being shown an example that our home is just that “Our” home, and we all can take pride in doing our part in keeping it up, clean, and orderly.

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  1. How great that she takes so much pride in this responsibility. We don't have a chore chart or pay for chores; there are just things the kids are expected to do.

  2. I'm with you on the chore chart. I never remember to fill in the stupid thing.

    We go back and forth on paying for some chores or not, nut are currently at the not stage.

    I do need however to work on their picking up habits, and their bad habits are my fault.

  3. Selena is a great little helper. I keep thinking that we need to make more of an effort to instill helping habits. Anna is very happy to help, but she does it when she feels like it, and we don't reinforce it often enough. Also - we have a cleaning lady, so she doesn't see us cleaning the house very often even though we do straighten it up every evening. Very thought provoking and inspiring post.

  4. Your approach sounds wonderful. Kudos to you for starting early and for leading by example.

  5. I have a tendency to just want to do the cleaning myself, and get it done. I have to really work at slowing down, and letting the children help - I love all the jobs Selena has taken on!

  6. Fabulous Debbie, and I agree it is the feels that go along with the accomplishment that make it all worhtwhile for her!

  7. It's great that she's self-motivated and wants to do her part in the family.