House Help: Kid Chores

I am looking forward to the day when my kids can help more with cleaning and housework, though I think then I’d miss being needed as much by them. 🙂

For now, I will just be content with having my older girls help out with what they can and enjoy our time of working together on things.

My oldest is going to be 5 this month. I believe that even the youngest of kids (that can walk at least) can help out around the house. Iris has being “helping” since she was very little. She used to really enjoy helping me with laundry – finding matching socks or sorting clothes by the person or folding washcloths. Not so much anymore. She enjoys bigger jobs – dusting, wiping windows, helping vacuum. I let her do things when I remember, but I still have a few items she is responsible to do, with or without my reminders:

-Make her bed.
-Brush her own teeth.
-Put her dirty clothes in the hamper.
-Pick up after herself.
-Set the table for dinner.
-Take her dirty dishes to the sink.
-Help out with her siblings when I need her to.

She, as any child does from time to time, complains and tries to argue with me. 🙂 But, for the most part, I think she understands why we expect these things – because she’s the oldest and is capable of helping and every person in the family is expected to help out. And she knows that the sooner we get the chores done, the sooner we can enjoy play time or a movie or whatever.

Lily is 3 1/2. She likes to do what Iris does, but she is still limited slightly with her motor skills. She is an EXCELLENT washcloth and hand towel folder. 🙂 She really likes to do it, too, thankfully! I let her sort the washcloths by the location they belong (bathrooms, kitchen) and she is able to fold and put them away. She also is responsible to take her dishes to the sink after meals, but she struggles some times with balancing her fork on her plate, so it does take her a bit longer than Iris. Regardless, she is expected to do the following:

-Make her bed (she is GREAT at this as well!).
-Brush her teeth.
-Put dirty clothes in hamper.
-Put dirty dishes in sink.
-Help set the table (usually just her spot and not usually carrying anything glass).
-Pick up after herself.

She doesn’t quite understand WHY we give each person jobs to do, but she sees that Mom, Dad and Iris all has things they do regularly, so she joins in with her jobs. 🙂 At least we’re starting the habit of working around the house; she’ll eventually understand and see why we all work around here.

Addy is 2. She is not quite able to actually HELP with much, but she likes to pull out matching socks from the laundry, sort washcloths from towels, and help me take the dog out. She is allowed to set her spot at the table, as long as I watch her carry the items from the kitchen over to her table spot (if unsupervised, she sometimes walks away to another area of the house with her fork and spoon!). Her “jobs” are:

-Put dirty clothes in hamper.
-Assist with brushing her teeth.
-Help with laundry when she wants (nothing required yet, for her).
-Help set her spot at table for dinner.
-Help pick up toys after play.

Of course, Baby Artie doesn’t do anything yet. 🙂 His job is to eat, sleep, and poo. So far, he’s doing a fantastic job with that! LOL.

I used to give out allowance for the girls when they completed their chore charts, but I fell behind on it and eventually quit paying them altogether. For now, I’m just working on making habits with them to help out. We’ll get to the money part probably in the next year or so, once they understand money’s value and what to do with it. Iris, I think, understands to save money and give tithe, but I don’t think she’ll relate the working to the money yet so I’ll hold off for now. I am torn with how to approach the relationship of money to chores.

I want my kids to do things because they want to be helpful for their family, but I also want to be able to show them that no one lives for free. They aren’t going to get an allowance if they aren’t going to do the work…but I don’t want them to do the work ONLY to get the money. I guess I’ll have to work on showing them we all do our share because we care about our family, and that certain things we’ll do because we’re a part of the family and certain other things we do in order to get “paid”.

Both Arthur and myself we raised with a healthy view of money and work. I think we both have good work ethics and that we understand responsibility and work. I didn’t get an allowance as a child; I was just expected to help out with certain things and whatever else my mother needed our help with. We all knew our place and that in order for the family to function we all had to do something around the house. My brothers were almost always responsible for the trash, and my sister and I did the dishwasher. We all shared the lawn mowing at some point (except my sister, who has allergies – LUCKY! lol.), and we all had to keep our own rooms clean and help with laundry. Arthur had to do his own laundry, started working while in high school, and was responsible to pay for his own college tuition.

I just pray that our kids understand why it’s important to help out and also that people don’t get paid to just sit around. 🙂

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