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Did your parents get you to do chores as kid?
Oh, how I remember… squabbling with my siblings, over whose turn it was to do the dishes. Gosh, there were some intense tea towel wars during that time!
But I must have gotten something out of that besides getting to eat off clean dishes every day. When I moved away in my early 20s, from the small country town I grew up in to the big smoke, the dishes roster traditon and sharing chores continued. We were civil. My younger sister, one of my brothers and I moved into a house together and well, we sat down and dived up who was cooking what night. We created a dishes roster! We shared out the household tasks. Mum and Dad would have been proud!
Why Do Kids Need To Do Chores Anyway?
Whether you grew up like I did with a chores roster, or not, I am sure as a parent you now recognise that getting your kids to do jobs at home is good for them. More than that, it keeps us from becoming cranky, over worked. super busy Mums! Yes, it benefits the whole family!
Research by Marty Rossmann confirms this. Children who are given chores to do will have higher self-esteem, be more responsible, and are better able to deal with frustration and delay gratification, all of which contribute to greater success in school.
However, reality is that our lives are busy and often it seems easier and quicker to do the task ourselves. Amen to that!
However, long term it makes sense to put effort into teaching our kids to do household tasks themselves.
We have a running joke in our family, when one member of the family is being lazy about a task they are responsible for. We jokingly remind them that as an adult they may have trouble finding a housemate or partner to live with who would want to do that job for them every time.
Also what the heck can kids help with anyway?
Well here are a tasks that I have taught my kids to do for themselves and/ or help out with.
1. Put A Load Of Washing On
Concern: What about the kids mixing colours and whites?
I keep our laundry simple by choosing not to buy white clothing at all. Heck, I have two boys who LOVE playing outside. If you have a lot of whites, you could either teach the kids how to do a colours load only or separate the whites out beforehand yourself. I do that with our bed sheets which are all white.
What To Teach:
- How much clothing can I fit in the machine to make a full load?
- What washing detergent do I use, how much and where does it get put?
- How do I turn the machine on?
- What cycle do I put it on?
- How do I start it the machine?
I know from experience, what a big help it is when I am pressed for time and I still need to put a load of washing on. Now days I can ask one of my kids, normally the 8 year old who loves this task, to put it on. Like that, it’s done!
2. Hang Clothes Out On The Washing Line
Concerns: The clothes won’t get hung properly. At times that will be true! Explain and even demonstrate that clothes that are bunched up don’t dry well.
One of my kids can’t reach the washing line. We use a strong chair for them to stand on to reach the washing line.
What To Teach:
- How do I shake clothes out, pull out sleeves, unroll socks etc so that the clothes dry quicker and are easier to hang?
- What part of the clothing do I put over the line?
- How many pegs do I need to use for each piece? No, a sock does not need 5 pegs!
- How close together do I peg the clothes?
3. Washing The Dishes
What To Teach: Won’t they break things, cut themselves on sharp objectives, get everything wet and generally have a good old playtime. Well yes that’s possible!
I tend to keep the knives aside for me to wash afterwards, as well as anything extra dirty and put a towel or floor rag under their chair at the sink. Too much fun is discouraged! 🙂
Update (January 2018): I did have a dishwasher for a few years when the kids were younger. That made it really easy to get the kids to unpack and put away the clean dishes in the morning. Now days, hubby has taken on the responsibility of washing most of the dishes. Thank you my dear! One of the reasons, is that he thinks his “soap everything and then rinse” method of washing is exceedingly better than my “fill the sink and wash all the dishes without rinsing” way. I have no qualms with that!
What To Teach:
- How much detergent do I put in?
- What do I do if I put too much in?
- What do I use to clean the dishes?
- What order do I do them in? Cleanest to dirtiest.
- How can I stop heaps of water from spilling on to the floor?
- How do I tell if a plate or glass etc. is clean or not?
4. Feed Pets – In Our Case A Fish And
Two Three Cats
Concerns: The cats might go hungry or opposite, be over fed. Same with the fish.
Need To Know:
- How much food do I give to the fish?
- What happens if I give them too much? Their water gets dirty quicker and you could kill them. This we tend to monitor because overfeeding our fish is very easy to do!
- How much food do each of the cats need?
- Where is the food kept?
- When do they get feed?
- Where are their bowls kept?
5. Cook Breakfast On The Stove Top
Concerns: Won’t they burn themselves or the food or the house?
Yes that is possible! All three of my kids can cook parathas (flat Indian bread) on the stove and a scrambled egg to go with it. I light the stove for them as it involves matches and gas and we keep the heat down low.
Experience does teach them that if you go away and read your book for too long, your paratha will burn!
What To Teach:
- What can I touch and what do I definitely not want to touch because it will be hot?
- How do I know when to turn my paratha (or any other food) over and when it is cooked?
- What heat is best so that the food is less likely to burn?
- How much food do I need to make breakfast for just myself? Yes, 3 eggs is often too much for one person to finish eating so I need to cook less!
6. Organise Their Own Morning Snack And/Or Lunch For School
Concerns: Biggest? That they forget to organise anything at all and have to eat some of their lunch for morning tea!
What To Teach:
- Where do I find the snack options? In our case, muesli bars.
- How many am I allowed to take? Well yes, 5 is too many.
- What can I choose from if I really don’t like muesli bars? There is fruit in the bottom of the fridge.
7. Mow The Lawn
Concerns: I can’t believe you get your kids to mow the lawn!
I know, I can’t believe they wanted to learn how to do this as well. For now they only get to have a go on a patch of the lawn. I still start the mower and empty the catcher etc.
What To Teach:
- What is the easiest way to push the mower?
- How do I know when it is full?
Printable Chore Charts To Organise The Kids’ Jobs Or Daily Tasks:
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