I am always amazed when talking with other moms that there are many who don't expect their children to do chores. Our children have regularly been doing chores for a couple years now.
I remember summers when I would be home along all day starting in 6th grade - high school. I could sleep in as late as I wanted as long as my chores were done by the time my mom got home which was usually by 3-3:30 in the afternoon. I remember coming down the stairs and there was always a note for me on the counter with that day's chores. It usually involved sweeping, vacuuming, dusting, doing dishes or mowing the lawn. Or sometimes the dreaded clean my room. Other times it would be things like write a letter to someone or make some cookies. I remember days frantically running around getting things done at 2:30 because I had chosen to be lazy all day. I was a soap opera addict back then and would arrange my whole day around THE YOUNG AND THE RESTLESS, BOLD AND THE BEAUTIFUL, AS THE WORLD TURNS, AND GUIDING LIGHT. I would even take our little black and white TV outside while I layed out in the sun so I could still hear it!
Anyway, chores are imporant to growing up and being able to take care of yourself. I want to know that when our kids go off to college, they will be able to handle making themselves a meal, washing up the dishes and doing their own laundry. I also want them to know that it takes a whole family to run a house, not just the mom or dad. And when everyone helps out, everyone takes pride in their home and feels good when it is picked up because they were a part of it.
So what are the chores our kids perform? In a previous post I wrote that for this summer I wrote chores on popsicle sticks. Then each day I put the chores I need done that day into a cup and the kids draw from them. Chores on the sticks include:
-Emptying the dishwasher (I'm too picky to let them load it yet.)
-Folding and/or putting away their own clothes
-25 Item Tidy (pick up 25 items in your room and put them away properly)
-Mom's helper (includes any little jobs I need done like restocking toilet paper in bathrooms or helping me with a project)
-Clean their bathroom
-Pick up the mudroom
-Setting or Clearing the Table
I also always include a free one, so that someone can get a day off or only have to do one chore which the kids think is fun.
Having the kids help out with chores not only keeps me from stressing out about all that needs to be done, but gives them some ownership in the family, in their home, and in their things. They also realize that the house doesn't magically return to normal while they are at school or asleep. That it takes work to maintain an orderly home. I'm hoping the women who marry our sons will appreciate this some day!