Monday, June 29, 2009


Everyone loves work!!! Don't they????

Okay, I guess not.

Afterall, I'm in work avoidance mode as we speak.

It's Monday and I have a whole list of tasks to why not blog!

A friend reminded me that she once came to visit from out of town and she couldn't get over the fact that 2-year-old Parker was "in charge" of unloading the silverware into the drawer.

When my kids were elementary to middle school age (and evidently before that) I always had a short list of items that needed to be completed before school or before they went out to play.

1) Make your bed
2) Clean your room

Those two were always on the list and then there were 2-4 age appropriate tasks like

3) Empty the trash cans
4) Organize the shoes in the laundry room
5) Put away the towels in the linen closet.

I would demonstrate how any new chores were expected to be done. And we all usually did our work together. Sometimes we would turn it into a game by timing ourselves or guessing how long a certain chore would take. Or we would work toward a common goal, like getting everything done so we could go to the pool.

As they got older, get ready..........
I had a TYPED list of chores (still only 5-6) on the computer!

I would open the document every morning,
tailor it to the day, print it out and put it on the kitchen counter.

By the time they hit high school,
they were in seminary and I didn't care if they made their beds every day.

I wouldn't print a list out anymore either.

I just hit them up with chores when I could find times they were home for more than 2 minutes.

And instead of outlining the chores like

1. Make your bed
2. Pick up all the dirty clothes and put them in the basket
3. Put the clean clothes away
4. Pick up the toys.

I could just say, "Clean your room and bathroom." By then, they knew what that meant.

Those explicit lists during the elementary years were just preparation so that they knew what was expected when I said, "Clean your room."

And although the chores were minor and sometimes didn't even dent my own list, the point of doing chores was to

1. Help them understand they were part of a family (something bigger than just themselves.)
2. Help them understand that they had responsibilities that they could perform even at a young age.
3. Help them become aware that if they walked in and threw their backpack down, kicked their shoes off, and left food all over the kitchen, THEY were the ones who would have to clean it up <- yeah - still teaching that one!
4. Teach them how to work and find joy in a job well done.

As they have gotten older and taken on more activities and part time jobs outside the house, they are still responsible for their rooms and some family chores like mowing the lawn or cleaning the gargage, but I am a lot more flexible because.........well, they've obviously learned to work, which was one of my goals........and they are doing worthwhile and productive things.

So, what is your work philosophy?


Here's the scoop from Stacy's house. She has three boys she is trying to train and here are her hot tips!

I decided to email this because I wasn't sure how long it would get.

I have just recently--as in the last month--instituted a chore chart. (Yeah, *totally* stole this idea.) We have "citizen of the household" chores--these are the ones which you do because you live here.

Things like: emptying the dishwasher (I don't make them fill the dishwasher because it's a stupid dishwasher that is difficult to fill), feeding and watering the dog, taking out the trash and recycling, and swishing and swiping their bathroom.

Each boy is assigned one or two of these for a week. There are others, like setting and clearing the table, that I assign as needed.

Then there is a weekly chore list for which they get paid. I've divided the house up into rooms and then vacuuming each room, dusting each room, and mopping the parts that need it. I originally had cleaning bathrooms on there, but that was too overwhelming--especially mine--so I've dropped it for now. If they swish and swipe every day and wipe down after they shower, it stays clean anyway.

Each job has a dollar amount. They can earn up to their age in money each week. This sounds like it costs me a lot--and it did up front--but now when they want something, they have the money to pay for it themselves. "Can we get a slushie at RaceTrac?" "Sure...bring your money." New video games? They buy them. Treats at the store? They buy them. If they get to where they don't want to make money, it's time to take them shopping! LOL

I've only been doing this for a month, but it seems to be working pretty well. Chris makes his $15 pretty quickly. He mows the lawn for $5, vacuums the stairs ($3) and vacuums all the rooms upstairs and that pretty much finishes his out. My two highest paying jobs are mowing the lawn and picking up dog poop. Both pay $5.

Just like in the real world, they have to do a good job on their chores. They can only sign up for one at a time and I have to inspect each when they are done. It *is* possible to be fired from a job for poor performance. The absolute best part of this little program was the very first week when each of the younger boys looked at me and realized how hard it was to do all the vacuuming and mopping and dusting and...and...and....

It's still taking them a good portion of the morning to earn their money, but they're getting faster. the long run...they're learning how to take care of a household.


valerie said...

Applause. Yes! Exactly how we work it here. When they were young, the chores were more simple. As they got older, a bit more responsibility. They have chores, but are not my slaves like a few people I know have their kids be. They know if they want to go play then their chores have to be done. After a few times, they have figured it out pretty quick and if I'm slow on getting the list ready, they have been known to ask so they can get going with their day.

Guymons said...

I was flipping around the channels on the tv the other day and came across a conference talk or on the BYU channel (could have been women's conference) and the person speaking talked about chores...she said something to the effect of--- kids should be cleaning the front room to learn to appreciate a clean room, not just to earn the reward at the end of the job. She was talking about the parents who pay kids for doing their chores or bribe kids to get things done.
I think about my kids, and if I say "clean the front room" they will come back "it IS clean" but to my standards, it really isn't. so that's frustrating. They don't CARE if the house is messy. They don't care if people are on their way over and I want the clutter picked I have some work to do in that area of parenting.

But my kids all have "jobs" to do around the house. They don't get paid an allowence.

Missty said...

I did the exact same as you - when my kids were very little they knew how to clean. I was home during the day, and they helped and learned. As they have gotten older, they do less. But can do whatever chore it is well.. well, good enough. lol

I have paid them to do work - I get paid if I work, my husband gets paid when he works. I know I don't get paid for the housework. But it also is teaching them the value of money, instead of just handing it over at every whim. And if the work isn't done, then no money. Simple.

Right now, Tyler pretty much doesn't do anythig, but his room.. when it is a disaster! I am a firm believer in shutting doors. lol He has school and a part time job and a girlfriend, enough said. Spencer is now my worker around here - He needs summer money, so I have a few specific items I want done each week for a certain amount of money. We do this each summer with the young teen who doesn't or can't find a job for that extra summer fun money.

Works for us.

Shirley said...

My kids helped around the house, but we never had a chore chart of any sort. Their "job" was to do their best in school. Their "job" was to do their homework when they got home. My "job" was to keep the house clean, take care of laundry, and feed them...and sometimes do yard work until kids got old enough to do it. My husband had a full-time job and didn't need another one when he got home.

That said, at some point hubby and kids took over cleaning up after dinner. I loved this! It gave me a few minutes to myself and it gave them a chance to hang out together and talk.

Anyone not doing homework could expect to be called on to help prepare dinner or set the table. Kids were expected to keep their rooms fairly decent. This included making the bed before school. I hate unmade beds! They were expected to put dirty laundry in the correct place. Youngest daughter liked to scrub the kitchen floor so I was happy to let her. Everyone took turns walking the dog, although he didn't like to go with oldest daughter because she walked too far. LOL

There were times when everyone was called on to help with a family project - cleaning out the garage or basement, weeding flower beds, etc. The reward for those things was always a family thing - dinner out and maybe a movie or miniature golf. Otherwise, I wasn't really into stickers and rewards. The reward was living in a comfortable home with a family that stuck together.

funny story - Youngest two were friends with a brother and sister and went to their home quite a bit. Friends had a job jar. Every job had a payment attached. My kids loved to go there and work for money, and the friends loved having them come because they had fewer chores to do. The mother didn't care who she paid as long as the work was done.

When I was growing up, my father worked half a day on Saturday so that was the time my mother, brother and I cleaned the house. My mom took care of the kitchen, bathroom, and her bedroom. My brother and I cleaned our rooms and the living room and dining room. What was neat was my mother never cared if we rearranged the furniture as long as we didn't move my Dad's chair. We had great fun "decorating." She also let us choose what dishes to use to set the table. My brother loved to use her best china and candles on the table. Along with responsibility, we need to allow our children the right to make some decisions along the way.

The kids did get a small allowance, but it wasn't tied to doing certain chores.