Tuesday, August 13, 2013

What Is Your View On Chores?

Many years ago, I read something about Mrs. John R. Rice {the wife of an evangelist and mother of six children}.  She talked about her children having meaningful work in the home.  She said chores taught them important lessons.  {Mrs. White}

Jane from Canada recently emailed me a question.  I would love to get your opinions on this topic.  We didn't give our children too many chores.  It is the one thing I regret in raising them but I was fairly sick the whole time I was raising them so I was just trying to get through each day.  Here is Jane's email ~

I am a SAHM that babysits in the home quite a bit, and I am actually appalled at the fact that I don't know ANY children {except my own} that are expected to do chores.  Well, maybe they clean up their own toys, but do not contribute to the household chores in any way.  

I make the children I babysit help me around the house, and they are very capable of unloading my dishwasher, wiping off the tables, vacuuming, sweeping, etc. once I have taken the time to teach them how. They have no clue how before I teach them.  I tell their parents that they are wonderful helpers, but the parents still do not make them do one thing at home.  It's amazing how little kids are waited on by adults these days.  

I really try not to care what other people do, but I wonder what is going to happen to a society raising children that expect to be waited on like servants by their adults. I waited on my grandparents quite a bit when I was little and it is a happy memory now. I look back on it as an opportunity, and the fact that every child in our extended family was expected to do it {I was raised in the 1970s}, I think made me accept reality more.  

I feel it actually makes it harder for me to make my child do chores because she absolutely never sees other children being asked to do things.  If we were raising her in an Amish community and she saw other children running around doing chores, would it normalize it? I am wondering if it is a cultural or geographical thing -- I live in an aggressively secular part of the Pacific Northwest in Canada.  I don't want to ask friends why they don't ask this of their children, as it would just put them on the defensive.

I admit that while chores are very important to our family values, we still struggle with them with our own daughter, who is five and an only child.  We are ultra consistent -- she must do the same chores everyday.  We never let it slide, even when we don't feel like arguing or when it is easier to do it ourselves.  

I was a Kindergarten teacher, and consistency worked like a charm in my classroom.  However, in my household, my child still needs frequent reminding and numerous requests.  Taking away toys has little effect.  We do spank, but are finding we do it less frequently as she gets older. When she needs to be asked repeatedly to set the table, for example,  I am very tempted to have her skip a meal to help her understand that when we don't work, we don't eat.  Is that too severe?     

I feel like both myself and my husband serve as role models to my daughter about hard work. He is an extremely hard worker.  I keep up with my housework, cook from scratch, etc, all of which my daughter witnesses being home with me all day, but my daughter still resists helping and never offers naturally.   

I am wondering how to get to the point where she does her chores without being reminded.  I am hesitant to do a reward chart, because I don't want to reward her for doing what must be done.  I guess I could do visual reminders, pictures since she doesn't read yet.

Any suggestions about what works for all of you would be greatly appreciated.

Train up a child in the way he should go: 
and when he is old, he will not depart from it.
Proverbs 22:6