Monday, September 26, 2011

What We Expect From Our Children Regarding Chores

A couple of weeks ago, I cancelled school for the day and insisted we clean up the disaster the house had become.  We had a designer coming over early that afternoon and I wanted some sense of order before then.  The kids were unbelievable, really, in their desire and dedication to help.  RJ kept asking what else she could wipe.  The boys would ask what else they could do to help.  It was amazing since I expected them to complain with each and every task.  Chores are no one's favorite thing to do. But something great happened that day.  The Lord taught me that they are capable of much more than I think.  They are capable of doing much more than I have asked of them in the area of chores.  I have only been expecting so little of them, that is what they were giving to me.  They would complain about each and every thing I wanted them to do in regards to cleaning.  Clean their room?  Grumble.  Tidy the entrance?  Complain.  Pick up the toys?  Claim extreme fatigue.  It was ridiculous.  But on that morning, their attitudes were cheerful and helpful and I knew they could do more than I had expected.   It had already been on my mind, the whole subject of what they could contribute to the maintenance of our house but that day, my eyes were opened to the possibilities.  I did a little online research and discovered some moms that give their kids LOTS of chores to do everyday.  Like a full hour of chores.  We are not at that point.  But I did up the chore chart a whole pile and came up with something that has worked well now for 1 full week.  Sure, it will get tweaked just a little as we go along but they now have chores every morning before school that could take a full half hour.  This morning my five year old tidied up the dining room and swept and mopped the kitchen floor while the 7 &8 year old boys were busy cleaning bathrooms and mopping those floors.  They can do it!  It just has to be understood that you expect no complaining (a cheerful attitude would be great but I will take no complaining), you expect it to be done to the best of their abilities and you expect it to be done in a timely manner.  THEY CAN DO IT!!  And I make sure to praise them for the great job they are doing.  Is it done just as well as I would do it?  Not always.  But are they trying their hardest?  You bet!  Now, depending on the day, I have the kids washing kitchen cupboards, wiping down bar stools and dining room chairs, wiping down my appliances, dusting, changing sheets on their beds, washing towels and bedding, washing windows, and other age-appropriate chores.  Since those chores all happen before school starts, there is also the understanding that after school is done, they must tidy their rooms before they are allowed to play with friends.  That keeps their rooms from turning into a disaster that takes days to sort out.  My house is looking tidier and cleaner and I am able to get other chores done because of the help they are contributing.  I am so glad the Lord is teaching me to expect great things from my kids and then to pray that they would have great attitudes and a good work ethic!  What a great lesson for me (and them) to learn.  How does the whole chore thing go over in your house?  What kinds of chores do you expect from your kids?  I would love to hear from you!

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