Thursday, February 23, 2012
A mom friend asked me the other day what chores I have my children do, which made me think it might be a helpful topic here. So...let's talk about chores, allowance, and philosophies. :) First, here is my chore list for the week:
I don't know if you can read it, but each day, on top of the things that have to be done like cooking meals and making beds, etc. there are at least a couple of cleaning chores I tackle so that by the end of the week each part of the house has been totally cleaned. I know, I know, you may have the same argument as I once did, "but it's not all clean at the same time! You never have a completely clean house!" Well, fight me if you must on this, but this is the way I now see it - if the carpets are vacuumed on Monday, the stove top, other appliances and kitchen sink are scoured on Tuesday, bathroom is scrubbed down on Wednesday, and wood floors are mopped on Thursday, that company coming on Friday or the party we decide to throw on Saturday, is a piece of cake! All I have to do is scoot through the house picking up random shoes and books that might be out, and run a wet rag around the sink in the bathroom to make everything appear as if I have just spent all day cleaning my heart out. When I make sure that a couple of key areas are clean every day, I do not fear company dropping in, or the added details of throwing a party, or the time it takes me to cook dinner, because the house as a whole never gets disgusting, and I feel (and have my husband convinced) that I am on top of things. ;)
So, since I do the bulk of chores around the house because I am the one here all day, where do chores for my children come in? Well...last year when my oldest decided that it was time for her to have an American Girl doll, I told her that I had to save up my own money when I ordered mine, and I thought that was pretty fair for her to have to do as well. She was okay with that plan, except how was a 7 year old supposed to make money? Since my husband wasn't going to go the lawn-mowing route that my dad went with me :), I had to come up with some things inside. She began unloading the dishwasher for .50 per load. That works out to be about $3 per week give or take here and there, which added up nicely. That was an agreement we had made, and it worked out well. However, I do not believe in paying for every single little thing my children do to help out! I work all day every day, and do I get an allowance to buy dolls with?!?! That is completely unrealistic to the ins and outs of a family and a household. The dog has to be fed and watered, and the table has to be cleared, etc. Nobody's getting paid for those things!!!
This year, the dishwasher gets unloaded, and sometimes it is by oldest little girl, but she has also learned a new chore: ironing napkins. I figured this is a great way to learn how to iron, and since we use cloth napkins even sometimes instead of paper at parties, there are usually a significant amount in the wash every week.
When I take them out of the dryer, I fold them in half, and then she does the rest later, usually during family reading time Thursday evening (Thursday is laundry day!). She is responsible for putting them away, as part of making sure the task is complete. This job earns her $1 per week.
My son, who is almost 6, has graduated from matching socks and folding wash rags, to folding all the towels clean at the end of laundry day, and this is what he gets paid for this year. Once a month, he cleans out from under his bed and dusts with a damp rag, and every day there is something for him to take out to the recycling bin. He helps take care of the dog, and he's usually the one responsible for sweeping the porch when it needs it, but folding towels is the job he gets paid for.
There is a specific way they need to be folded in order to fit into our narrow, old house linen cabinet, so that has taken some practice for him, but he's getting it even though it has meant a couple of re-folds. He also usually takes care of this during reading time. A nice quiet activity which occupies his hands as we all listen on the edge of our seats to find out what will happen to Harry and his friends next...or, if Mom's reading, Frank and Joe Hardy on whatever sleuthing adventure they are currently on...
3 year old Little Girl has taken over wash rags and sorting underwear. I had to convince her that they were all freshly washed and dried first.
Her hands are only big enough to handle the kids' stuff, so when I dump them out for her to sort, I put those in a pile for her, making sure they are all turned right side out. Yes, since they are already in my hand, this would be a very easy job for me to take care of in less than a second, but it's been good for her to have a laundry job too. The kids all share a drawer in the bathroom for under-garments, so they aren't folded, just stacked and then pushed through after showers as if it is impossible to just reach in and grab from one's own stack. The drawer remains an absolute wreck at all times, but don't tell Little Girl that she could just smash her pile of chore in, and no one would know the difference....
Maybe my favorite chores to have help with, are vacuuming and dusting. When I get out the vacuum and ask Little Girl to help, she gets her vacuum and scoots right along beside me,
And she knows how to go get her hands wet a couple of times, and dry them with a wash rag, then come help me dust the furniture with her damp rag. On Monday we dust, and part of dusting inevitably means clearing the clutter accumulated over the weekend, so everything we find out of place around the house that might be in the way of dusting or vacuuming, we put in a big laundry basket, and when the other kids get home from school, we all work to make sure that laundry basket is emptied and all the contents are put where they belong!!! And thus begins a new week of cleaning the house. :)