“Train a child up in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.” Proverbs 22:6 This verse can be used for many situations in life. Today, we will use it for chores for children.
Let me start with a story of my own. When I was a kid, my brother and I grew up on a farm. Now there were lots of jobs/work to be done. My grandmother would take care of all of it if she thought we would better for her doing it, however she knew better so she assigned us duties. Every Saturday was house cleaning day. We didn’t want to do it but we pitched in to help out. We also helped in the garden and mowing the lawn. There was more we did but these were the big ones. Also, over the summers we spent a couple of months with my mom in Delaware with her family. My aunt, one of many, was very strict with my cousins and made them do chores at home while she was at work. As a kid, I thought this was terrible and “how dare she make her kids clean her house, who is she? She can clean her own house.” And that is the exact thought that would go through my mind every time I would be at her house and my cousins would say, “we can’t go because we have work to do”. Now as an adult and knowing what all I face as a wife, mom, sister, friend, etc, I expect the same out of my kids as my aunt did of my cousins. Funny how that happens isn’t it? As an adult, I don’t see it as “helping”, I see it as I’m not the only one that lives in this house, that eats this food, or that enjoys being outside in the yard on a nice day. If we do not teach our children how to, they will never know. As mothers, are we going to go to college with our children and clean their doom or apartment? After they move on and are married, are we going to clean their house for them until we are old and can’t any longer? No, I can say this mama isn’t. I love my boys and will do anything for them but I am raising them to be independent. As my mother- in-law often says, “it is easy to raise your kids to be dependent on you, it is much more difficult and takes much more work to make them independent”. Do we really need another generation of “dependent” people? I say no, and I say it starts with us mom’s making it happen as early as 2-3 years old. Yes, it is much easier to just go along and do all the work than to manage our children in a way to get it done. It does take work to force them to do it. However, in the end, I am much less stressed, in a better mood and we can go do more fun things because I’m not worried about cleaning the house, the laundry, or making sure the yard is presentable.
Do the boys clean perfectly? NO!
Do I go back behind them and check, then show them how to do it better? YES!
Does this take time? YES!
Is it worth it? YES!
I have attached below my boy’s chore list. This list was made at the beginning of the summer. This is what I expect them to do daily. It keeps them from fighting and keeps them busy. When they are done with their chores, they can have the video game cords back. These are turned in each night before bed and aren’t given back until the work is done. Also, at the end of the week, if they have done their chores each day then on Saturday morning I will take them fishing. If not, they will do the chores that were missed. If they are supposed to vacuum the floor every day and they missed 2 days, then come Saturday morning they can vacuum it twice. I know you are thinking this is ludacris. Think about it this way, what if you were to do this at your job, only do part of the job. What would happen to you if you did that? Well, I am building my children’s work ethic. You want something you earn it, no entitlements here. This also builds the incentive to do it every day so they don’t have to work so hard on the weekend. Each week I take these chore lists and change the name on them. So one week Franklin does one set of chores and Wyatt does another then they switch. This helps to keep the work done consistently and then they don’t get “bored” with their chores. . From week to week some things change depending on what we have going on for the weekend. My house is not sparkling clean all the time but it is picked up and I’m not embarrassed if someone comes by.
My boys are 11 & 13, so they can do quite a bit. If your children are at a different age, there are age appropriate chores. Like I said before, the boys started helping at 2/3 years old. They helped with taking the trash out, emptying the dishwasher, and the laundry. I would make it fun, what they could do or reach is what I would hand them. For example, I had my nephew last week. He fit right into our daily routine. As I was emptying out the washer, I would hand him the clothes that went in the dryer. As I was sorting clothes, I would give him some that would go in the washer. He would run and throw them in the washer and come back for more. Same with other things. If you make it fun at a young age, they aren’t as apt to not do it later. The sooner you start, the more it becomes routine. Also, let me encourage you that it is NEVER too late to start this with your children. The older they are the more than can and should do. We as mom’s wear a lot of hats for our children, this is one way they can give back and honor us. “Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. ‘Honor your father and mother,’ which is the first commandment with promise: ‘that it may be well with you and your may live long on the earth.’’ Ephesians 6:1-3
In doing some research for this article, I ran across this article with age appropriate chores. I was awaiting the permission from the author as to if I could share it in my article. Here it is. She does an even better job of covering the topic. Check it out….
I would love to hear your comments on this. Please no shaming here. We are all Mom’s and Dad’s, of different walks of life.