A question was posed-how do I get my children to do their chores? I’ve been thinking about it and trying to figure out what it is exactly that we do. Since we’ve got kids on all ranges of the age spectrum there are different things appropriate for each age.
My little guy, Laffy Taffy, he’s in major training mode. Sometimes he likes to do his chores, other times he throws a tremendous fit. Like today, I asked him to unload the silverware from the dishwasher, this is not a hard job for him, he’s done it dozen’s of times. But it’s not new and exciting anymore, now it’s work. So lately it’s been going something like this:
“Laffy Taffy, Please come unload the silverware.”
“WHAT?! “Ugh!” followed by various mooing and groaning sounds and sometimes fake tears, falling to the floor, etc. Whatever.
Now one of two things happens, he either remembers what happens if he repeats what he did before or he throws another fit. If he answers “yes mom” like I expect I give him lots of verbal praise. But, if he repeats the first offense, his actions are swiftly followed by a meeting with the wooden spoon…and his butt. Then we try again, and usually that’s the end of it. But let me tell you, this training is endless. Even if he has a couple of good days, he reverts back to his ornery ways and we’ll have to do some more training.
For me, these are the easiest to get to do their chores. That doesn’t mean that they are always happy about it, but if I’ve trained them right, and they just saw their little brother get “it” for not obeying, then they are pretty eager to do well. Obviously I don’t only want them to comply because they are afraid of getting in trouble, rather I want them to understand that their role in our family is vital and we NEED them! I make sure that they know how much I appreciate them and their help, that we are a family and we all need to contribute to keep things running smoothly.
Learning how to set a rat trap…for the chipmunks that were getting into our beehives.
Blue-Raspberry is an especially eager helper. He’s just at that helpful age and he’s very capable at doing many a wonderful things like: Carrying the vacuum all the way up the stairs and vacuuming the entire top floor. Unloading the entire dishwasher, fetching food for me from various places around the house, emptying all the garbage's, making his bed, his little brother’s bed and changing the sheets! He’s awesome!
Junior High/High School~
If I’ve done my job right and properly trained everybody, then doing chores at this age isn’t a problem. But every once in a while attitudes or laziness show up and the best thing, especially for teenaged boys, is the threat of not being fed. It’s scriptural! Recently we were having trouble with everybody leaving their shoes all over the place in the garage. It was ridiculous. There is a place for every pair of shoes out there, we have a LOT of shoes and LOT of super-sized feet in this house. I was dead-serious when I told those BIG boys that if I see their shoes like that again, they wouldn’t be eating until further notice. And they believed me too!
Lest you think I’m totally a meanie, understand that I do almost every thing with the belief that they are watching me. If they see me doing my work with grumbling and complaining, they are going to do their work that way too. If they see me working cheerfully, they can’t help but catch the “cheerful bug.” I’m a little sensitive about the work load being fair, because of my “Cinderella years.” Those are the years between age 15-18. I wasn’t living with my mom at the time, but I definitely felt like the work load was unfair towards me. That being said, I did learn to work hard, but I don’t ever want my children to think or feel like they have to do all the work while I sit around and blog or whatever!
“Do all things without complaining and disputing, that you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world.” Philippians 2:14-15
Another thing I want to mention, is that we have a lot of family work days, Where we are all working toward a common goal. Sometimes it’s yard work, sometimes it’s cleaning out the garage, sometimes it’s a painting project, or setting up for a garage sale. Whatever it is, working together gives my husband and I the opportunity to teach them how to work hard and how to work cheerfully!
And just like absolutely EVERYTHING else we do as parents, we have to remain diligent and consistent and follow through with our threats! Mr. Taffy and I have a renewed resolve toward staying the course. We slacked off for a while enjoying the fruits of our labor with our older three, but eventually saw that we couldn’t quit. We were getting too relaxed. If we want our little ones to grow up to be the incredible blessings that our older children are then we have to remain diligent, even when we are exhausted!
Carry on Mom! God is with you!