Monday, 5 September 2011

Chores For The Young Ones

I am so very excited for this blog post! I asked several mom-friends how chores and clean up might look in their home with the little ones. I also asked why they decided to do things that way.
I am so encouraged by the responses! I hope you are encouraged and inspired as well.  Each Mom's personality will change the way things are formatted but, the motivation is the same in all these responses.
To glorify the Lord and train up young ones.
Thank you to the oh so helpful Moms that shared!!!!!

Thoughts from Julie W. 
Mother of 3 children (Ages 3 months, 3 and 5) 
My girls, ages 5 1/2 and 3 1/2, have reached a good age at which to give a small reward for accomplishing simple chores.  I assigned each of them three chores for each day of the week, minus Sunday.  My oldest daughter sweeps the floor, makes her bed, and gets dressed.  The younger one clears the table, makes her bed and gets dressed.  The reward is one star sticker per completed chore on their chore chart which hangs on our refridgerator.   They do help with additional chores at times, like dusting or mopping, but their chore charts are intended to be the main focus.
The purpose of the chores is to guide the girls into becoming responsible in helping around the house, to teach them tasks like picking out clothing and keeping things neat and orderly, and to give them some independence.  I also hope they are learning to serve one another as sometimes one helps the other with the beds or the table clearing.  My goal is for them to ultimately do these things with complete independence, but I must remind them (and myself!) to not get frustrated when things don't go perfectly.  My 3 1/2 year old can't always dress herself; I sometimes need to pull that stubborn night shirt over her head.  My 5 1/2 year old doesn't sweep every single crumb into the dust pan, but she is gradually learning coordination with this process.  I think it's important to enjoy the process of learning and teaching for all involved.  In any pursuit like this, it is key to remember to have grace with my children, and keep in mind the end goal.

Thoughts from Laura B 
(Has two grown children and is a teacher) 
START THEM YOUNG! Even a toddler can fold washcloths with a bit of patience. PRAISE THEM FOR HELPING even if the end result is not too perfect--it won't be. I noticed my daughter has her girls carry their plates to the sink--it's just a little thing, but a start  The other thing that helped me was to WORK WITH THEM--they did not know how to do chores in steps until I taught them... We cleaned up one mess before beginning another. We put the books away right after reading. We put one load of clothes away in drawers. I knew someone who would just yell at the kids to go clean their room, which was a disaster--they didn't know what to do! She didn't help them; maybe she didn't know how either. I found everything was easier with the old adage " a place for everything and everything in its place." DO LITTLE THINGS AND WORK UP as their age would imply.
Thoughts from Melissa W-The Blog Author 
(Mother of two kids- 18 mths and 3)
 Train a child in the way he should go, 
and when he is old he will not turn from it.Proverbs 22:6
Kids are smart little folks. They give out exactly what you put into them. If I put sugary snacks, little time and tv shows in, then I will see a pretty interesting result. If I give them tasks to do and have good expectations the result is amazing. Happier children for sure! Each day My daughter helps tidy her bedroom and make her bed. She helps me get herself dressed. Then, as we make messes through-out the day they are expected to help clean up. My son even does a good job at his age of understanding pick up time.  
At first we (Husband and I) started with saying "grab and drop" the toys. Now, we have moved on to "Place all the books on the shelf, place all the dolls in the basket" and so on. I think starting small is important. Right out of the gate children do not understand "Pick up your room" they have to be shown. I have each child help out in a way that works with their age-level. For example: Conner helps me push clothes in the dryer whenever I load it. For Bella I have a few days a week where I have Belle help me cook dinner or snacks to learn how the kitchen works. It is fun for her and a good way to teach patience to me.  (This morning, she helped make our eggs.)
After dinner she is expected to scrape her plate off, place it in the sink and push in the chair. I praise her when she does these things and especially if she demonstrates that she wants to start something on her own. For example, sometimes she grabs a cloth to start helping me dust or says "Can I pick up stuff so you can vacuum"  I stop what I am doing and give her a hug and tell her I am proud of her.
Little steps to learning independent life skills and working as a family.
Alyssa C. (Mother of two, ages 4 and 5&1/2)
Deuteronomy 6:6-9 And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.
Justin  has these chores: Sweep the kitchen, put away/dry (if needed) dishes, take out the compost, make bed, brush teeth, match socks, fold/put away laundry (his own), a kindness to someone else and doing something without being asked.
Jason has these chores: recycle stuff, egg compost (putting eggshells in bucket), put away plastic dishes and silverware, brush teeth, make bed, a kindness to someone else and doing something without being asked.
Recently I've been thinking the boys are old enough to be contributing to the household. As men, they need to know basic skills. If they move out before they get married, they will need to know basic house cleaning. And when their wife is sick in bed with morning sickness or recovering from birth, they will need to know.
I am big on rewards. I do it for myself so why not for them? Justin is highly motivated by food so that's an easy one. Jason is not so motivated by food so I'm hoping habit and Justin's example will help him learn. So at the end of the week they get to pick their choice of a reward-movie, dessert or dinner. The consequence is no reward.
I wanted to teach them basic household skills but also character traits that will honor God hence the kindness to someone else and doing something without being asked. Today while shopping at Wal-Mart, I was very proud when Justin without being asked started loading the bags in the cart! I felt very rewarded!

 Cheryl M.
Mother of 4 (Ages 5,3,1 and in womb)
Colossians 3:23, “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart as working for the Lord, not for men.”

Little did I know how much this verse would be recited when I wrote it on our verse chart; recited not only by our children but by me as well. However, this verse has made a drastic impact in our home.
Whether you have a large, medium, or small family, chores and work are ever present. They lend themselves to being the perfect opportunity to teach obedience, diligence, perseverance, and serving others; all important traits which do not come naturally but can be taught starting at a very young age.
In our home we start chores just after our children start walking. We’re not talking dusting the living room or mopping the floor, but picking up toys or unloading the dryer (one piece at a time). This is meant not so much as a way to get a job done, but to teach our children the importance of helping in the family and eventually a larger community as they grow and apply a biblical work ethic as adults. These small chores are not expected to be done perfectly, but as we encourage our children with much praise (“Good Job! What a big helper! Thank you so much!”) their little faces brighten and they feel as though the job they just accomplished was the most important in the world and they want more jobs to do.
In this way, we seek to teach them that doing chores is more than a task that must be done or they will get in trouble. We want them to understand that they are helping by doing their part in a common goal (keeping the house clean) in our family. We want them to learn the joy of serving others. We want them to learn how to stick to a task until it is completed, so we give them bigger and more challenging tasks as they become able to handle them.
I have noticed that my attitude and tone of voice in giving the command to do a certain chore will have a direct impact in their attitude while they complete it. If I tell Josiah that he needs to pick up his toys in the next five minutes or he will get a spanking, then he immediately does not want to do it and he will have a bad attitude as he slowly accomplishes the task which will most likely take more than the amount of time that I set for him. However, if I ask him to please be a “big helper” and pick up the toys really fast, then his response is “Sure, Mom!”
Last week I asked Xander to pick up the living room. He said very enthusiastically, “Okay, Mom. I will be very diligent! I will work at it with all my heart as if I were working for the Lord and not for men!” He worked hard and did the job to the best of his ability. Of course, this moment came after many failures to follow directions and many chances to teach and encourage this kind of diligence. To say that I was proud would be an understatement. I finally saw a payoff in all our teaching. I told him that I was proud of him but more importantly God was pleased with his attitude and diligence.
Our kids do not have a chore list that they follow every day. Their chores are anything that I ask them to do. There are the everyday chores such as getting dressed, clearing the table, picking up their toys, making their beds, and so on. But they are also beginning to be competent in added chores such as folding clothes, vacuuming, changing the laundry, and sweeping the floor.
Our desire for our children as they grow into adulthood is that they will learn a strong work ethic. When they leave home and enter the workplace, their work ethic can be one way in which they can glorify God. We want our children in many ways to shine as lights in the world so that men may see their good works and glorify their Father in heaven. The area of work is simply one of those ways.
Cheryl's daughter, Lauren emptying the dryer. So sweet!
  Jackie W 
Mother of 4 grown children 
You can't tell your very young child "clean your room". They get so overwhelmed with the thought of the "whole" room". It is much better to say, "Pick up all your toys", "Pick up all the socks on the floor" - by taking time to give them a little direction the whole room will be cleaned by your kiddo instead of you. It takes more time and energy for you to be involved, but after a few times you can start turning it around and asking, "What should you do first?" and let them start making decisions.
Family responsibilities can start as soon as they are walking - they understand so much more than we give them credit for way before they start talking. It's all a bunch of little things that end up adding up to a lot! Picking up toys . . . . do it together so they know what to do, and soon they can do it on their own. When they can reach the drawers they can put away silverware from the dishwasher. When you clean, let they dust all the low things - window sills, floor molding, table and chair legs. A duster is fun, but a little hard to control - a swiffer sheet works better.

I guess the most important thing is for them to realize that this is all part of being a family. Mom and dad work around the house, they are a part of the family and will work too.
The other "most important thing" is consistency - keep your expectations consistent so that your kiddos will know exactly what you expect of them. They will also know when they are done - i.e. mom will not let me be finished until the top of the toy chest is closed . . . .something like that.
Chores should not be punishment/discipline. "Go clean your room!" as a punishment is not a good idea :-) Find something separate for discipline. When my brother was the right age, my mom and dad had him chop wood when he needed to cool off. I guess picking up rocks might be the same kind of thing for youngsters.
Putting coats and boots away when you take them off - make sure hooks are low enough to hang coats and there's a special place for the boots. No tossing them on the floor at the entryway.
Deuteronomy 4:9-10 ESV 
“Only take care, and keep your soul diligently, lest you forget the things that your eyes have seen, and lest they depart from your heart all the days of your life. Make them known to your children and your children’s children– how on the day that you stood before the LORD your God at Horeb, the LORD said to me, ‘Gather the people to me, that I may let them hear my words, so that they may learn to fear me all the days that they live on the earth, and that they may teach their children so.’

1 comment:

Lindsay Anne Shields said...

LOVE this post mel! What a great idea to gather ideas and insight from other mothers. It's fun to read about different opinions and approaches to this topic.