Chores are important for a child’s self-esteem, sense of responsibility and experience with a feeling of accomplishment of a job well done.
My kids have chores. Ask them, and they will tell you that they are responsible for doing EVERYTHING around the house. I tell them that they would have a lot less chores if they did just two or three of them well.
For example: Big E is responsible for taking out the trash and twice a week, making sure that the trash cans get brought around to the front yard early in the morning for the trash men to pick up. Now, there are some guidelines that he should adhere to for this to be done correctly. 1) Do not wait until the inside trash can is overflowing, and make sure to replace the trash bag. 2) Make sure all the trash placed in the large cans is bagged and tied. 3) Trash pickup is Tuesday and Thursday mornings. 4) On Tuesday and Thursday afternoons, pull the empty large cans back around to the back yard.
Result: He’s pretty good about taking out the trash when told that it’s time to do so, after you’ve asked him once nicely, yelled it a second time, and then turned off the x-box or tv and repeated yourself for good measure. He never replaces the trash bag unless he can’t manage to talk someone standing close by into doing it for him. He always forgets what day of the week it is, so you’ll catch one member of my family frantically running down my uneven driveway on any given Tuesday or Thursday morning dragging a heavy trash can before the trash men make it to our house. Half of the trash that is in those cans will be left in the cans, and/or strewn about the yard, as it was not properly bagged ahead of time. And rarely are the empty trash cans in my front yard timely placed in the back yard. But, have him tell you, and he’s an engineer of waste management.
Tween C is in charge of emptying / reloading the dishwasher. Guidelines: 1) Don’t overload the dishwasher. 2) Rinse the dishes before putting them in the dishwasher. 3) Be careful of how high you stack the dishes, so as not to impede the turning of the magic dishwasher turnstalls located at the top of each rack. 4) When unloading the dishes, make sure that each dish is clean and dry before putting it away. 5) Take care of where you are putting the dishes, i.e., don’t put plates in the pot cabinet, etc.
Results: “C, what happened to doing the dishes today?” or “C, where’s the salad bowl?” or “Does anyone in this house know where the cheese grater is?!” Oh, wait, that’s usually Little B’s fault, and it’s in his closet. 🙂 But, ask her, and she’s a domestic goddess. She even puts in her ipod earphones like I do when I’m cleaning, so as to make it appear that she’s actually doing something other than shuffling semi-clean dishes around in the kitchen the way a three-year old rearranges food on their plate to make it look like they ate some of it.
Asked to sweep the living room? No problem, just swat everything under the couch with your foot, and presto! You’ve “swept”. Put away laundry? Easy! Just carry things into your room, and throw them on the floor in a heap. Bathe the dog? Sure! Just run some water over her and let her jump out and run into the living room where she can roll around on the couch to dry herself off.
All this time, I’ve been working so hard, when obviously it’s more about making it APPEAR as though you’ve done something, than it is about actually getting stuff done.
So, their lists remain long and arduous, in hopes that in the midst of getting through their lists, they will find their “niche” and we will find out what they are good at doing. If they will do two or three–oh hell–ONE thing well, then that’s all they will ever have to do. But I’m not holding my breathe.