Sunday, January 13, 2008

Life in the possum den.

Bianca' from Spain asked... I like reading your blog. My three children are 10, 8, & 4. This is no a religious question. What chores do they do? Do you believe in chores for juniors?

Hola, Bianca!
All of the possums have chores. I believe that having responsibilities (even if they're minor responsibilities) can give a child a sense of purpose and help bond the family. Even toddlers can do simple things to help the family out (and, as long as you keep it positive and remember to commend them on their willingness and helpfulness, I don't see that there are any negatives). Owen (P4) is three. His chores are to pick up his cars and trains before he goes to sleep and pick up all the tub toys before he gets out of the tub.
Grace (P3) has is responsible for checking the bathrooms for toilet paper and stocking the cabinets where we keep that stuff. She's also supposed to keep the kids' bookshelf looking nice, but that's a tough one. She is also supposed to help the bigger kids with their chores. They're pretty good at giving her age appropriate tasks (like putting napkins at every place on the table or putting the dull silverware away).
Jake (P2) has several chores; trash duty, alternates table duty and bath duty with Alexis, reads to Owen/Grace once a day (to supplement what Mike and I do), supervise and help the little ones pick up their room, collect the recycling, and pair up the socks after they come out of the dryer.
Alexis (P1) has several chores, as well; alternates table and bath duty with Jake, cleans the kids' bathroom, keep the computer desk clean and DVDs organized, and generally help babysit the little ones if needed.
You'll notice that their rooms aren't part of the chore list. Pdaddy and I feel that their rooms are their rooms. We don't require that they clean them everyday, but we also don't help them find missing items or buy new stuff that is damaged because of their negligence. The only rule for their rooms is that there has to, at all times, be a clear path to the door and window (for safety reasons) and that they don't keep food in their rooms. Jake is better organized and cleaner than Lexi. Lexi likes her mess. About once a month, we do ask that they put everything in order so they can vacuum and dust.
We don't pay them for chores. Chores are part of life. They're part of being a member of a household. If they want to earn extra money, we always have a list of extra chores that need to be done.

Here are some funny pics, from tonight, to show P2 "on duty".

I caught him watching television while he was supposed to sort socks. LOL

Today has been fun. The kids went to my parents to pick fruit. They came back with mandarin oranges and grapefruit.

My dad's having the Gleaners come out tomorrow and pick the rest of the crop. I think the kids had eyes that are bigger than their stomachs. But, we'll make orange juice and freeze it.
I hope everyone is having a great day!


Anonymous said...

I love the last picture! I think that's how a counter ought to look.

Anonymous said...

Your philosophy about chores is pretty what the Deacon and I have held in raising our kids, including their bedrooms needing at least a clear pathway to the door! The kids are pretty responsible now and they often help out with extra tasks because they've learned that the family functions best when everyone does his or her part.

Sean the Blogonaut F.C.D. said...

Sorry to be off topic PM, just wanted you to know that you are currently sitting at number 8 in the Challenenge Religion Ratings. Congrats

jesslla said...

Wow! That looks like my pile of socks every time I do laundry and it's just me and Zothar. If the cats wore socks I'd shudder to think of how many we'd have...

I was very thankful for my chores growing up once I reached adulthood. I didn't have to call home to ask how to do my laundry, I already knew. My mom always said that one of the reasons she had kids was for someone else to do the laundry and mow the lawn (between her back and her fibromylgia she just couldn't do much)! :D

ZugTheMegasaurus said...

Your view on chores is a lot like what my parents did. I was shocked when I went to college and found dozens of people (people who were, apparently, bright enough to be admitted to college) who had no idea how to wash their clothes. My mom stopped washing my clothes when I was 10. It actually turned out pretty well; I managed to start a profitable little laundry service in the dorm building. After all, more kids got allowance than skills.

Chris said...

Hehe, I'll admit it. I'm still a little confused on how to use the washing machine. I've even had to call my mom up not more than a year ago to ask her "Um...for darks, is it warm water or cold?". I'm 25.

It doesn't help that the washing machines in my dorm room and first apartment were so simple you literally only had to hit "Darks" or "Whites". Nor does it help that whenever I'm home for more than a day or two my mom will literally sneak away my dirty clothes to wash them.

Then again, we rarely did chores as a kid. My dad would try to get us to do them, but since we only visited him on alternating weekends for most of our childhood, my moms very relaxed stance on chores was the biggest influence.

If I were to do it over, I'd try to get myself used to doing them as early as possible. I'd also recommend kids learn to do them as early as possible. PM, looks like you've got the right philosophy.

Poodles said...

One of my dogs cleans up both his and the other dogs poop in the back yard (I won't spell out how), does that count?

kstorm said...

@Poodles - I had one of those dogs too! She also took care of cat poops in the garden and the occassional mess along the roadway when we took a walk. Just doing her little bit for the environment.

reddhedd said...

We have all our boys doing their own laundry by 9 or 10, cooking (ok, really helping) by age 3, clearing dishes, filling/emptying the dishwasher, vacuuming, dusting, etc. by 8 yo. and each of them is required to cook a meal once a week for the family after they are 12 or so.

My children are WAY independent...and they like it. My oldest went off to college a couple of years ago, and found a similar situation, Zug...he couldn't believe that so many kids claimed to be adults but didn't know to separate lights and darks. His girlfriend loves that, BTW...her last BF asked her to do his laundry!

My SIL didn't allow her kids to do much, in case they made a mess. I say; teach them to pour drinks early; a spill is just a spill, not a life changing experience!
Now, 18 years later, mine are living the independent college life, and hers show up at her place all the time half starved with dirty clothes. ;o)

amarullis said...

I wish my mom had been more like you, PM! I kept trying to convince her that there is a difference between dirty and messy in my bedroom, but she wouldn't relent. I did get cooking, cleaning, and home repair experience that has shocked many a room mate and boyfriend. The toilet in my first apartment wasn't working and the 45 yr old male landlord and two of my male room mates were at a loss. I stepped in and fixed it in a few minutes. That was one of the many moments I really appreciated my parents.

Anonymous said...

Awwwww...thank you, Amarullis. I'm far from perfect (and don't even try or claim to be). But, I truly enjoy parenting. It's fun to watch your kids grow into the people they become.

My mom has severe OCD. So, when I was growing up, she would get very Joan Crawford. Apply all necessary adjectives that might apply. As a result, I vowed that, while I would never let the house or rooms get DIRTY, I would choose my battles very, very wisely. I also found that it would be hypocritical to make them out-perform me in turns of clutter. My room is very, very clean, but I have stacks of books everywhere. Like I said, so long as it can be dusted and cleaned on a monthly basis and you can escape in a fire, I figure it's their room. I can close the door. The common areas are to be kept neat and clean, though.

And, 'word' on cherishing great life skills from our parents. My dad made me cut grass and chop wood with the boys...he even taught me to change the oil in my car. That stuff has been invaluable.

amarullis said...

Yes, my mom has OCD too. I got it from her, but I think having to live with her expectations has helped me keep mine in check a little better.
I was lucky enough to be the youngest of two daughters and a tomboy, so I was my dad's assistant on all "manly tasks." I think that sort of knowledge is so important for girls. Too many women couldn't change a tire to save their life.
Oh, and the day I had my first car accident, at 16, my dad & I spent the day waiting in line to file a police report and waiting for the insurance inspectors. When we finally got back home, he said to me that he had always dreamed of having a son, but he wasn't disappointed that he never had one, because I was better than any son he could imagine. One of the best days of my life!