Wednesday, March 26, 2014

The Chores War: Should kids have chores?

It may not seem like a difficult choice for some, but for me the question about whether or not kids should have chores was a tough one. My husband and I debated for many years about the chores war. For the first few years, the only chores my children had to do was clean their room and put their clothes in the hamper. That was it. Why? Well, I had many reasons why I didn't want my children doing chores.

1. Education is the most important thing in my book. My children are excellent students. They work very hard at school and on their homework. By the time they get home from school and finish their homework, there's hardly anytime left before bed. They shouldn't have to spend their last free minutes doing chores.

2. I was raised to do chores...A LOT of chores. I didn't want my children to feel like slaves, like I often felt.

3. I'm picky. I like things done a certain way and it's often easier just to do things myself.

4. If my children started doing chores, that would mean they are growing up. I just wasn't ready to let my babies go.

Now, although I was against kids having chores, I also know the benefits to kids having chores.

1. It teaches them to take care of their self and not be fully dependent on others.

2. It teaches them responsibility and work ethic.

3. As my parents used to say, "if you live here, you contribute."

4. The extra help would be awesome. 

That's the straw that finally broke the camels back. I was so overwhelmed with 4 kids and working full time, I needed help. One chaotic day, I was rushing to clean the house before a birthday party. My daughter offered to straighten up the bathroom. I was desperate so I said go for it. Then, my son offered to vacuum the floor, which none of the kids have ever done. My other son, offered to dust while my youngest wiped off the table.

I was completely shocked at how quickly the house was clean, and even more at the fact the kids knew how to do it and did it well. Of course, I had to retreat to my bedroom and let out a couple tears because my babies had grown up.

Since that day, my children each have 5 chores a day, which always include making their bed, cleaning their room, putting away their laundry, and then 2 extra small chores. My children love being able to help out, but I thought eventually the newness would wear off, and then I would have the chores battle with them. This has yet to happen.

Why? Well, I don't tell my children to go do it. I always ask them and always say thank you when they are done. I remember doing my chores as a kid and I hated it because I always felt forced and never got recognition for the hard work. So far, so good with my kids.

Also, they really enjoy helping out because they also know that it reduces the amount of time I have to clean, equaling more mommy time. I also think they like that fact that it gives them control in a sense. I let my controlling ways go in some respect. I used to be so picky about how things were done, no I don't care how it's done as long as it gets done.

Allowing my children to start helping out was not only beneficial for them, but for me and our household as a whole.

Where do you stand on the chores war? Should kids have chores?

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