Today’s post was supposed to be a post about chores anyway but it was interesting to find out that a friend of mine does not require her children to do chores. She said and I quote “I think that my parents tortured me with chores when I was a kid, so I don’t ask my kids to do what a parent should be doing for them.” I found this interesting. This is a mom that works, has two children, and a husband. I listened to her position and I asked her if she thought that this would prepare her children for their future? She responded she would hope so, key word being hope and I did tell her that she was the subject of this post. Here are my thoughts. Chores are essential to what we teach our children. The skills that I have found that children learn include responsibility, preparation for employment, beneficial to the household, and makes the child more accountable. So when I began to research this, and there are whole websites and post dedicated to the idea of chores for children to include the Center for Parenting Education.
The Center for Parenting Education states what we already know. “Young children and teens are lacking in judgment, impulsive, and self-absorbed.” For me, my children do chores to not only development but this also help with skill building and teamwork. They become responsible for something so mundane such as cleaning the bathroom, cleaning the floor, picking up toys and clothing out of the floor. In thinking about Special needs children, it gives them not only a sense of purpose but it helps with fine motor skills, gross motor skills, sequencing and timing, and motor planning. It teaches them a task that they aren’t going to learn in school and may not pick up naturally. The goal is to get our children to self-sufficiency. We want them to know how to care for themselves when they are older and I think as a parent that had to do chores as a child, we do a disservice to our children when we don’t teach them how to do chores. We also do a disservice to them when we don’t teach them about financial management.
This great friend of mine has her opinion. I have noticed that we have a society of children that don’t clean up after themselves, that don’t shower, that don’t understand the concepts of what life is going to be like when they go off to college or out into the real world. According to the Center for Parenting Education, children that do chores “have higher self-esteem, are more responsible, and are better able to deal with frustration and delay gratification, all which contribute to greater success in school.” Again I ask, when did chores become bad in our society? When did the foundation that our parents laid for us become a bad foundation for our children?
I am a firm believer in chores and let’s face it, as a single mom, I don’t have the luxury to not have my children help with chores, there’s one of me to clean and three of them to mess up. I consistently give my children things to do and we do chores on a Chore rotation by zone now. The house is set up by zones and there are zones that are mine and no one else’s such as the kitchen and floors that need to be swept and mopped. Depending on the zone will depend on the chore that needs to be done. My children know that in order for our household to stay balanced, chores have to be done in a timely fashion. Chores that are done on time, there could be small rewards associated with those chores, but I do not want them to get in the habit of thinking that they are going to get financial rewards for things that have to be done around the house. This sets up a pattern that mom cannot always keep up with as a single parent but it is up to you as a parent to make that call as to whether or not to give financial rewards for what should be done as a member of your household. When thinking about chores, I thought about what needs to be done and the Developmental Age of my children. These are the things that this article says you need to consider when you decide to begin this process:
- “What chores do you want completed in your home?
- Are the ones already selected the best fit for each of your children and ones that are most meaningful to the running of your household?
- Are there life skills that a particular child needs to learn?
- Are you happy with your decision to tie/not tie allowance to chore completion?”
I know that being a parent is tough duty and add into it teaching your children skills is a natural part of this if we want them to survive without us. I struggle with the balance of everything all the time. Chores develops character bottom line. It teaches them to accept responsibility while learning a skill. Children are not going to appreciate you immediately for giving them chores, but they will one day when they are older. This is something else that I struggle with. Always remember that children mirror your behaviors and your moods and if you show that you detest chores, they will not meet their responsibility anything but resentment for having to do it. Make your children proud to do their chores. Now back to my friend. I told her my position on chores. I told her that waiting too late is not teaching our children the foundation that they need to have in life to have a home of their own. That is what chores prepare our children for, having a home of their own. What she decides to do, I probably will never know, but this is my position and no one else’s. So how do you feel about chores and children?