Motherhood & Parenting

Children & Chores!

Awhile ago I was asked if I might share what our children do around the house?  You bet.

Children & Chores

It’s just downright hard raising kids, no?

The other day I was delegating extra chores to the children, and it was entertaining to observe their reactions.  One rolled her eyes.  One flung himself on a chair and cried, “Oh, why?!”  Another slid towards the door and ducked out, hoping he wasn’t seen, while The Eldest sermonized on the injustice of it all.

I did have one child quietly and immediately go grab the broom.  (What an angel.)

I had the thought that this would be a lot easier if I could just hire a nanny.  Except that I’d probably need 5 nannies to get all this work done.

Yeah, like 5 nannies, a cleaning lady, a cook, and a mechanic.  That’s what I’d need to run this circus parade.

Just What In the World Do Your Children Do Anyway?

Now, before I begin, I must remind everyone that just because my children do these particular tasks, doesn’t necessarily mean that yours will need to too.  All families are different and have different needs after all.

So without further ado, here we go.

The Eldest (12 yrs. old)

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Here she is.  Diligently drying dishes.

1.  Makes breakfast for everyone Monday through Friday.
2.  Takes out all trash, whenever needed, because she once complained about it.
3.  Wipes table at lunch.
4.  Dries dishes at supper.
5.  On Saturdays, cleans main floor girl bathroom, hallway, homeschool room, and front door area.*

Twin #1 (10 yrs. old)

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He made supper this night, but that’s not his regular chore.  He volunteered for this one.

1.  Washes dishes at lunch.
2.  Washes dishes at supper.
3.  On Saturdays, cleans basement living room, laundry room, and stairway.

Twin #3 (10 yrs. old)

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Whoa, look at those muscles…

1.  Dries dishes at lunch.
2.  Sweeps floor at supper.
3.  On Saturdays, cleans basement boy bathroom (gross, just gross) and upstairs living room.

Child #4 (8 yrs. old)

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He gets to vacuum the garage every night.  He’s terrible at it, though, because he’s so easily distracted by rollerblades, ping-pong balls, baseball bats…you name it.  It takes him forever.

1.  Sets table at breakfast
2.  Sweeps floor at lunch.
3.  Vacuums garage rug after supper.  (Ha!)
4.  On Saturdays, cleans boy bedroom and garage.

Child #5 (6 yrs. old)

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She’s my best organizer.  She’d organize the dirty laundry basket, if I asked her to.

1.  Sets table at breakfast.
2.  Wipes table at lunch.
3.  Carries cloth napkins to laundry after supper.
4.  On Saturdays, cleans baby room and girl bedroom.

Child #6 (3 yrs. old)

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So cute.

1.  She does nothing though.
2.  Just nothing.
3.  What a slacker.

The Toddler (1 yr. old)

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Found her in the pantry.  Just wrecking stuff.

1.  Just wrecks stuff.
2.  Like all the time.
3.  At least she’s happy!

There are other things they help out with too.  For example, this summer the twins had to water all 200 bushes and trees twice a week.  This took them about 3 hours a shot.

And of course all the children help weed and care for the garden and all that.

Chores as a Consequence For Bad Behavior?

Yes.

We are firm believers in administering chores as consequences.  In fact, I’m really into using consequences to my advantage and to the benefit of the house.

For example, if Twin #1 punches his brother, I just pause a minute and look around.  Hmmm…what needs to get done around here?  “Twin #1, you will now need to wash all the living room windows.”

“Ah, Mom!”

“Now you’ll need to wash the dining room windows too.”

Allowances?

Nope.

I know allowances work for some families, and I’ve even heard of families incorporating math with the administration of them, which I think is admirable, but just the thought of that overwhelms me.  In fact, I don’t carry a lot of cash around, and really, I don’t want the hassle of paying the children to do things.  Call me lazy.  Or just plain busy.

That said, I do bribe them from time-to-time with odd jobs.  For example, the other day I wanted the junk drawer organized.  I didn’t want to do it.  I offered Child #5 a handful of gummy bears, if she’d do it?  Gladly.

Then, I wanted the van washed.  “Boys, want to earn $3?”

“Yes.”

And then sometimes they get creative and accost me with a proposition.

“Hey, Mom, would you like the van vacuumed too?”

“Yes.”

“We’ll do it for $2.”

“You’re hired.”

Last Question on Money

From time-to-time the children do get money from us and from relatives on birthdays or whatever.  So, then, what do the children do with their money?

We require them immediately to put half of whatever they’ve received into their piggy banks, which eventually gets deposited into their savings accounts.

The other half they may do with as they please.  Usually they just stuff it all in their piggy banks anyway.

Any other questions?  Be sure to ask!

 

 

*These Saturday cleanings are supposed to be very thorough.  Each child has a check list of things that they must do to each room.  Now, there are slackers among the ranks, and we do have to help those slackers to remember to actually DO their cleaning…

 

 

Life is Worth Living

Airing My Dirty Laundry: Room Tour

As any mother knows, there must be a method to the madness of laundry.

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My Laundry Room.  I even left some clothes out for you to see, with a dirty pile of whites on the counter.

It just so happens, however, that the chore of laundry is one of my favorite things to do.  And why?  Because the machine does all the cleaning.  All I have to do is calmly shut the laundry room door and fold the clean clothes in peaceful solitude.  So, I hog this chore all to myself, and then I make the children put their clean piles away later.

Of course, someday soon, I will have to make sure the children know how to open the lid, put the clothes in, and press the correct button.  But I can go over that process later.

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So back to the laundry room.  Now this is the first year of my life that I’ve actually had a laundry room.  When my husband and I were first married, we lived in a beautiful, old craftsman-styled house in Duluth.  This house was lovely, but it had the scariest, creepiest dungeon of a basement that I’ve ever seen.  Of course that’s where the washer and dryer were.  I made my husband douse the place with Holy Water before I even set foot down there, and I shudder to think of it.  I don’t know how I made it that year.

Then in our second home, the washer and dryer were in a closet.  This wasn’t so bad, especially since there were two shelves above the machines, and I was just happy to not be in a dungeon.

Our third home featured a shared laundry room/bathroom.  Now this was almost worse than the dungeon.  Almost.  Because every time I wanted to shut the bathroom door and fold clothes in silence, someone had to use the toilet.  It never failed.  And then this bathroom/laundry room was right by the back door, so the children were constantly in and out of it.  With dirt and mud everywhere.  Just thinking of it makes my stomach queasy.

But finally, in the 13th year of our marriage, God saw fit to provide an entire room, dedicated to blessed chore of laundry, and I will forever be thankful.  It’s my favorite room in the house.  Now I can fold clothes, gaze at my Virgin Mary pictures, and drink my wine in peace.  The only thing that’s missing is a lock on the door.

So without further ado, I’ll post a few more pictures, for those of you who might be interested.

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These are the cabinets above the machines.  The bottom right shelf features piles of socks, missing their matching pairs.  Amazing how that happens.
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These lower cabinets store extra toilet paper that I buy in bulk.  The drawers above have gift-wrapping paraphernalia in them.

Opposite the machines, there is a closet.

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This side features coolers on the bottom, our extra blankets that the children use for forts in the middle, and my sewing box on the top shelf.
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This side has more sewing stuff on the top shelf, our extra “puke” towels in the middle, and my ironing board down below.
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The cabinet under the sink stores all the basement cleaning supplies.

That’s all for the laundry room.

Advice About Doing the Laundry?

The best piece of advice about actually doing the laundry, however, I think I picked up from Holly Pierlot, years ago.  (If you’re looking for a great book on how to order your days, click HERE.  This book changed my life.)  Pierlot said something about waking up and immediately putting a load of clothes in the wash.  Then, after lunch, switching it out to the dryer.  And finally, folding it after supper and doing this every single day.  Our days must be ordered.

It’s genius advice though – having a routine for laundry.  I’ve been doing it for years.  I put a load in right away in the morning and so forth.  I used to only have one load a day, with Sundays off.  Now, however, I do 2-3 loads a day, depending on the season, always with Sundays off, and I’m never behind.

Parting Trifle

And this is what we ate for supper tonight, in addition to a pork chops and lemon noodles.  It has nothing to do with laundry per se, except that after supper, when all the children were doing their chores–washing and drying dishes, sweeping the floor, chattering away–I hid in the laundry room and folded the clothes with my glass of wine.

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Avocado, red onion, blueberries, and feta over spinach with a homemade lemon/olive oil dressing.