I have been having a problem with my kids doing chores so I made my 8 year old (whom I will refer to as Sultana henceforth) look up age appropriate chores. I figured if she can look up how to play animal jams and find cheat codes online she can look up a list of chores. She did find it and I reviewed the list. It is a great resource that includes the child’s age then lists some chores they should be able to accomplish both with help or on their own. I went online later and found several others, but they all very similar. I also read a ton of articles and The Mom Book I have on hand that covered even more information.
After 20- minutes of research I came to the conclusion that the type of chores are not the problem that I have. A moment of clarity! My children CAN do most of the chores in their age range. They just don’t WANT to do those chores. The problem I have is not the chores themselves, but the lack of motivation to do those chores. So I switched gears and did some more research in to how to get the girls to do their chores.
After reading The Mom Book and 15 other articles online I discovered that I am the root of the problem. I lack the follow through at making sure they actually do their chores. I have not been consistent with them in establishing a routine and sticking with it. I have a poor attitude myself when it comes to housework. I feel that it is easier sometimes to do the chores myself than deal with the whining that ensues when I ask them to do a chore. I am not allowing them to fulfill their potential by making them do their chores.
There are several areas that I need to work on…
1. Establish a routine
2. Be happy about housework
3. Follow through
I admit, I don’t have a routine. I do chores when something really bothers me, or when someone has written their name in the dust. This is causing me some stress personally. It is also something that I have taken up as a personal challenge in the last 2 weeks. I don’t want anyone else to know what a slob I am (only a little exaggeration here)! I’m not really that bad I am but it is how I feel sometimes. I definitely feel like I need advance warning whenever someone comes over and even with said warning I rush around while yelling at kids, and dogs, and cats. I recently put a daily and weekly checklist on the fridge that I printed of another Mommy-blogger’s website. “Sultana” saw them hanging on the fridge, and said “Wow Mommy! This is neat. Now I don’t have to ask what needs to be done.” I was so happy! It was like angles came down and were singing!
Whistle While You Work
I read an article I really liked called “8 Tips for Getting Kids to do Chores (Without Complaining)“. Jenn’s article starts with how your attitude towards housework reflects on the kids attitudes. Well, (big sigh) I guess I have to figure out how to like housework. Fat chance, but hey, I can fake it! If it means any less complaining when it is time for chores, then I will paste the biggest smile on my face and sing songs so we can get it done.
I also lack follow through. The plethora of articles agreed a lack of follow through on parents’ parts was a big reason kids complained/whined about chores. Let’s be honest here, there are some days when it is just easier for me to feed the dogs, it literally only takes 3 minutes to scoop the food in the bowl and put it on the floor. I can do it before my 6 year old is even done whining about it. If the kids know that whining gets them out of the chore half the time, they will continue. I need to make sure that when I say do “it” that “it” gets done. Not only done but completed in an appropriate manner. If they need help or more direction, I need to do that with them.
I personally feel like “I told them to do it. They left and came back. It should be done.” After reading, and studying and evaluating myself honestly, I have discovered that this is not working for me. Yes, I tell them, and they leave and they come back, but the chore is not always is done or done satisfactorily. Follow through does not just mean making sure the chore is completed satisfactorily but with some good feedback too. I definitely needed this reminder to give them positive reinforcement. I thought that giving them an allowance was positive reinforcement. All but one article said that allowance and chores should not be tied together. Financial responsibility is a life skill that should be separate from chores.
This has been a busy week for me and I am ready to make some changes in my house. I would never have thought I would spend an entire afternoon surfing the web, not for fun, but for advice on chores. This parenting role is a bit tricky. I feel like I need a nap after all the bits and pieces of information I jammed into my head. Maybe if I get rid of some of the junk in my brain I can hold more good stuff. Here, if I share it with you maybe I can put more in. Why did Tigger have his head in the toilet? … He was looking for Pooh! Ha ha! Got you. You snickered at a poo joke.