Friday, January 24, 2014

Many Hands Make Light Work

Chore Time in the DeBruin Household Involves a Variety of Tasks!

I remember growing up getting the easy way out...not having to do many chores, not really expected to do too much. To be honest I really took what my mother did FOR US, each & every day, for granted! (my Dad was a typical man in that era & worked really hard to provide)
My mother dedicated herself to taking care of us four children with all the mundane tasks that entails...
Washing Floors...
Sorting & Organizing Items Around the Home...
Cooking & Dishes...

The list is really endless for a typical stay-at-home parent!

So, why involve our children? Isn't that really a form of child labour?
And most importantly, isn't it easier to do it ourselves?!!

Well, I have created this list to get you thinking....this blog post is to ENCOURAGE other moms/parents out there who may be feeling weary with the whole 'chore thing', and secondly, to hopefully inspire others out there who are 'on the fence' on this sensitive topic.

  • Why Do the Chore Thing? Well, for starters you are training up children to become competent adults. You are (hopefully) working towards that goal with the end in mind. Competent adults are responsible for themselves. While children should never be expected to take on an adult's 'role', there is a place for them to practice with mini assignments that are age appropriate & match their capability.

  • What Does It Teach? I believe that by doing chores, children are learning & practicing many skills such as: honesty (will they tell you the truth about what they completed), responsibility, excellence (learning to do things well & improving), wisdom (sometimes they surprise me with showing ME ways to improve on a task), cooperation, empathy (understanding what it takes to run a household & what Mom/Dad actually do everyday), self-management, and listening skills (and who doesn't want to have a child that actually listens?!)

  • How Do You Implement Chores? You can begin as soon as you finish this blog! Depending on your child's age, you should be able to find a chore that they are able to take on. I have found from experience that children (from about the age of 3+; of course you know your child & their capabilities) are able to listen well to instructions, or be able to help out with an older sibling, or even alongside Mom/Dad. However, under that age you may even find eager tots ready to help out as much as they can :) Implementing the chores in your home can be as simple as dividing a task list, or as complex as an Excel Spreadsheet. We like the Maxwell chore organizers, and heard about them from the famed Duggar family. You can find them here at --> 15 Examples of Various FREE Chore Spreadsheets

  • How Do You Know What is Appropriate For Each Age? I think it is really individual. Maturity, development & their interests can give you some guidelines. For us: every September we re-divide the chore list. We take turns picking out something from the pile, and then go around in a circle picking one after the other until they are all accounted for. Currently, I am homeschooling four children (with a newborn on the side) aged 6, 8, 12 & 13. For our current school year: the older two boys selected sweeping, cleaning bathrooms, dishes & a few odds n ends. My eight year is a girl & she loves helping me with the dishes (we sometimes make up stories on a slower day while we wash...) and she also is good at helping care for the animals (we have a bird & a pooch). Our six year old is another boy & enjoys helping sort socks, fill up toilet paper rolls & helps me change garbage bags. I find I become more of a manager as I hold them accountable, help with more difficult tasks & then go on to my own. 

  • What If I Can't Get My Child To Do Chores? I think the first thing then to work on is respect for the parent. Also, if the child is younger then really it could be turned into a game. I used to have 'contests' with my two older boys when they were preschoolers. We would make happy faces with soap suds on the floor, and then slide around it as our mopping (carefully with Mom's supervision!) They had a blast! My six year old really enjoys a good sock war in between folding. He just asked me today if we could do another one... :) Be creative, but persistent. Work on encouraging them to respect you as their parent.

  • Lastly, I think the MOST IMPORTANT thing is to work together as a team. It can be MUCH, MUCH easier to allow Mom, and even Dad, to complete all the chores around the home. In my opinion it also gets done WAY faster as well...but it doesn't prepare them for the reality of their lives as adults. Yes, children may only be able to fold socks when young, but at 15/16 years of age I want my children to be able to do anything that my hubby & I can do around the home (minus driving...which comes soon after!) 

What type of chore organizers do you find helpful in your home?

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  1. I don't remember doing chores before 1st grade, but our teacher at school encouraged us to learn to make up our own bed and keep our bedroom neat. Later I would set the table and the three of us took turns washing and drying dishes. Much later, I made the salad for dinner and baked cookies or cup cakes for our school lunches. We took turns cleaning the rabbit cage, and collecting eggs. Mother taught me to sew on her old treddle machine blocks together for a quilt. Later I sewed simple skirts to wear to school. Our children made up their own beds, but I can't remember being as organized as you are with yours. Your post is an encouragement for all mothers with children at home to begin now to include them in chores. Older children can learn to sort clothing for the wash and empty into the dryer. My mother taught me to hang clothes on the line because I lived in the "olden days." Thank you for sharing with us here at Tell Me a Story."

  2. Thanks Hazel for the encouragement. It seems chores may have changed for most kids (i.e. we don't work out with animal as much, or sewing per say) but the principles definitely remain the same :) Thanks for always stopping by & visiting.

  3. My children learned to do everything and have thanked me many times. My daughter was shocked to find out one of her friends was graduating and had never ironed at all. We really do our children a disservice by not teaching them to be a vital part of our family. This is an excellent article.

    1. A vital part of the family is correct :) I feel that by training them to help out, they see their important role as part of a healthy group, our family. Thanks so much Pamela for sharing & stopping by!

  4. My oldest is 7 and can operate a washer and dryer. Rarely do I ask him to do that, but he knows how because I think it's important to teach our children these skills AND I think boys often get left out in these type of chores. My youngest is usually tasked to help his big brother or me or dad with our chores in different areas. Otherwise, I try to write out a week ahead of time the chores for my older child. Each day is on it's own piece of paper tacked to our calender and he can just pull it off when he's done for the day.

    1. Seven years old? That's awesome! My kids are very good yet at the washing (my hubby actually does most of ours at his work) but yes it's great to see them all pitching in at 'whatever' :) Thanks so much for sharing & coming by my blog!

  5. Excellent advice! I built a chore training time into our homeschool schedule. We believed that chores would also help teach them a work ethic. We never paid for chores because we considered helping out something you do as part of being in a family. But we did create EXTRA chores that they could do to earn money if they wanted. Thanks for linking up to Making Your Home Sing Monday!

    1. Me too! We do our chores first thing before school begins. Usually we're all done within a half hour or so and then sit down for school time. Thanks for sharing & always enjoy your blog hop!!

  6. I have lots of printable checklists but I really need to re-do our morning lists. Since we moved into a new house, I haven't redone them and it's making me crazy! We really emphasize chores at our house and the investment in time that it takes to teach our kids is so worth it.

    Thanks for your post and the reminder how important chores are! I'm featuring you at this week's Family Fun Friday!

    1. Thanks Sarah for sharing & for the feature! Always enjoy your link up :)

  7. Good morning! Your post is among this week's featured, will be shared across social media, and pinned to pinterest. Thanks for linking up at A Mama's Story, and help yourself to a featured button. :)

  8. This is a great post. I whole-heartily agree! My children are wonderful helpers!



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