To chore or not to chore that’s the question?

Do your children help with the chores?

I was reading this blog post about home organising tips and this comment caught my attentionlaundrey2 – “Our oldest started doing her own laundry around age 8, and it made my life much easier.”  We want to raise our children to be able to be responsible for themselves by the time they are adults, which for my daughter is a only a little over a year away.  She does not normally do her own laundry but I have made her work the washing machine.  I like what Melissa who commented on the blog post I have mentioned above said.  She made the comment that her children take turns doing everyone’s laundry and later in the comment she said “When I do chores, it’s rarely just for me. I don’t cook only my own meals or wash only my own dishes for example so I like that my kids are learning to help with everyone’s laundry.”   I think that is more the philosophy we have taken with our children – you live in this house, so you can help around the house.

While my children don’t have specific days that they help with the laundry I do get them to help hang out or bring in and fold the laundry on a semi-regular basis.  More occasionally I have had them put the washing on.

Growing up we were responsible for our own rooms from a very early age (mine was often very messy & I am a messy person).  My husband tends to be better at keeping things tidy and his Mum did just about everything for him.  He reckons that he has grown up with things being organised so even though he didn’t do it, he likes it this way.  My mother had us helping with cooking from early on and we made our own lunches for school from when I was in grade 4 and my brother was in grade 2 (my mother is horrified when we remind her of this but I don’t think it did us any harm).  I usually pack my children’s school lunches but I fear my son wouldn’t take anything half the time if I didn’t.  They do usually pack their own lunches when I’m away.  Growing up we had Saturday morning jobs, I’m sure we had about 4 each which we swapped week about, things like vacuuming, sweeping, cleaning the bathroom & taking out the rubbish.  As we got older and we’re home on holidays my mother would leave more for us to do, especially as she was working.

So what sort of things to we get our children to help with around the home?  They have very few regular chores, mainly due to the fact that they are both at high school and doing extra curricular activities so therefore have very little time to help out.  However they have one week where they empty the dishwasher or take out the rubbish as well as help set the table. Recently we have also added helping fill the dishwasher or wash up.  Often on weekends I’ll get them to help with either cleaning the bathroom, vacuuming, sweeping & mopping the floors.  Different people might fold the laundry but we all put our own clothes away.  They are also expected to clean & tidy their own rooms and they are expected to make their bed each day.   I might get them to help with meal preparation on the weekends.  They also take their sheets off their bed on the day I wash them and then we are teaching them to remake their beds.

When they are on holidays I usually get them to do more chores such as helping with the laundry, or when I plan the meals for the week, ask them which night they want to cook & what they want to cook for the week.  If I’m going out but my children are staying at home, I will often leave them with some extra jobs to do.

Once again I have been reminded how I want my children to know how to do these things so that they can manage the running of a home when they need to.  Which may be sooner than I’m ready for if my daughter moves out of home when she says she will (at this stage she will have the slight problem of being able to afford to).

What sort of things do you get your children to help with around the home?  Are you doing things similarly or different to the way you were brought up?

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