Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Kids Doing Chores Without Stress

When my oldest kids were little I just didn't get the hole making kids do chores thing. Ok, I'll be honest, from birth to the time they were 6,7 and 9. It's not that my mom didn't make me and my sister do chores. It's just that I'm so afraid that they will miss their opportunity to be kids if they had a lot of chores. It doesn't help that I'd get impatient any time they were doing chores on their own. I'd just take over and would send them on there merry way, so that I could just get them done and out of the way.

Well last year when I was pregnant with my little girl it became another story. I had my husband to remind me that they are capable of doing these things, that I should not carry the bulk of fault for their messes or mistakes.

Eventually after many arguements and tears I decided that what could it hurt. I was carrying the top reason I can't do it all alone in my belly. Keeping up with laundry, dishes and other housework for a already family of five was hard enough, to be pregnant while doing it made me more miserable than morning sickness.

So I started looking and trying to get them to do chores. Happily the children were for the most part willing to try. As usual it ended up just being extremely hard for them to understand what I wanted them to do. They would get discouraged easily and so would I. Nothing I said was helping them get the job done. I was determined that if I asked them to do a job they weren't just going to throw stuff around. They had to make it look at least somewhat decent. That way I wouldn't be tempted to go in and fix it.

So here we were the kids hating every minute, I was hating every minute. "It wasn't worth it" I would end up thinking and send the kids out to play.

I looked into different chore systems. There are about a million of them. I tried many on my children through the years but always the same out come. I was thinking this time I'd look into a schedule, something easy and less dependent on me. My kids were now reading so that solved a lot of problems. If one couldn't read what it said another could help them. They would need one that could be broke down by age appropriate jobs.

Finally I'd found one that looked and sounded like it just might work. The best part was that most of what I needed was already made up for me but in a way that I could customize it for the kids. I found it at Home Made By Carmona. So I made one to suit what I thought each child could do after school and still be a kid.

Somewhere along the way of getting this done. I'm not sure where I found it but while I was looking into charts. I'd read an article about children getting discourged while doing chores. It hit home. They however knew what the problem was and had a solution.

Our problem was that the kids didn't know the steps to take to get the job done. Or if they did know them they didn't understand how to execute them. Ok makes sense right. I can show them all day long or tell them a million times over. It doesn't mean that they are seeing the steps to get to the end results.

The solution is to have a step by step card for each chore. The process of breaking a chore down into parts is time consuming to say the least. The reason being is that you aren't just saying clean out the sink.
You are saying..

Take the dishes out of the sink.
Take a clean hand towel and wet it down.
But dish soap on the towel.
Now scrub the nasty stuff off of the sink with the towel.
When the yucky stuff is gone rinse the sink out with the sprayer.
Squeeze the water out of your towel over the sink.
Put towel in the dirty laundry basket.
Your done. Good Job.

Home Made By Carmona had something similar HERE to use. I however tweaked it to something like I posted above. So the kids could easily find and read the checklist as they work. I also loved her laminating idea but didn't have the money to spend on it but I did have some binder paper protectors that did the job. Except for the little stuff I used the wide clear tape on both sides to protect them. Keeping them dry and keep from being torn.

The reaction from the kids were excitement. They wanted to do the jobs for hire first but the rule was that they had to do all their other jobs of the day before they could.

By week three they were getting board but this mom stuck to her guns and soon it became a habit. Everyone split up to do their jobs. I did make the mistakes such as having one child doing dishes at the same time as the other was scheduled to do the kitchen floor. It caused quite a commotion but we worked it out.

We did this for about six months. By that time they'd mastered their chores and could get most of them done in record time. Then they started asking me for harder or different chores. Well being as getting ready for baby was in full blown craziness, I didn't get done. Fortunately when the baby got here they took on some different kinds of duties.Getting things for mom, watching baby while mom gets the bottle and other small things that eases moms mind while out of the room.

Since the move we haven't had the chart up. We are still learning how this new house is effecting our everyday life. There is also the problem of getting along and team work. So here is where mom has put them in pairs to get things done. They already know how to do them This time however they have to learn to do them with a partner. A partner that they don't want to work with- a sibling.  It's a brand new challenge for them.

It wasn't long ago that I was talking to my mom about getting the kids to learn other things. Such as cook on the stove or with the oven. Oh Dear! This is an everyday challenge for me and I need to teach it to the kids. Not cool. Mom told me something then that left an impact on me.

"Do you want to teach them while they are at home? Or do you want them to come to you after they've moved out on their own, to ask you how to do these things?" 

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