I expect my children ( the younger portion ie 5&3) to put their pyjamas under their pillow and put their dirty clothes in their laundry bin . I expect them to participate in tidying- doing allocated tasks such as dressing up clOthes into storage bin- I allocate things where they are thrown into or piled rather than anything needing careful treatment. I expect books to be taken back to the shelf ( not necessarily put on). I expect the five year old to get eating utensils out- if asked - if feeling cooperative the three year old will do this too. I expect them to carry their plate or cup back to the kitchen….
Everything else is flexible…
It really is just a use of words, of course you can’t ‘expect’ a child to do the same thing everyday, that would be like having a small slave. I cannot use language to please everyone, as your children are 7 and 3 and they do actually do jobs around the house, which is what I asked, what do they do?
My 4 year old puts her clothes in the laundry bin, although not always automatically every time. She will help pick up toys etc if I do it at the same time. She likes to do washing up (that isn’t to dirty), sweeping and cleaning dirty surfaces ( I think she sees it more as water play). Her efforts are not always perfect but I think she is to young to expect to much. My 6 year old is much more helpful. He takes the recycling out to the bin, is very good at tidying, he also likes to water the garden. I think the key is to do tasks with them as a family activity rather than them seeing it as a ‘chore’ as such. They do get pocket money as well for helping.
My bigger two (just turned 3 and 4) always help tidy their toys at the end of the day (we introduced this as a thing we do together as part of a wind down to bedtime).
They like to help unpack the shopping. I don’t let them loose in the shop as I would end up with a lot more stuff than I wanted, lol!
They do sometimes carry an item of shopping to the car/home for me.
They sometimes help sweep the kitchen floor.
They set the table and get their plates (and the 4 year old gets our plates - theirs are melamine) out the cupboard for meals.
Sometimes they help get breakfast ready - get the cereal out, put it in a bowl.
They help me sort the washing and put it in the machine.
Sometimes they help hang it on the line (mostly the Merri) by handing it to me fromthe basket.
They put the recycling into the recycling box.
They put their dirty clothes in the washing basket if asked (and occasionally by themselves!)
The only thing I really ask them to do though, is tidy the toys, all the other bits they tend to just start doing or ask if they can help
I would not really expect it, no, but I’d ask them do do it daily. I think at 2 and 4,no they won’t do it, but at 5or 6 it becomes much more reasonable. I believe in my kids not seeing me as a doormat. I also think kids need to learn to cook, clean and look after themselves and if you do it for them you don’t do them a service.
my 2 and 4 yr old take their plates to the kitchen after meals,most of the time, put their washing in the basket, place shoes in cupboard when they enter the house, tidy up occasionally when asked, water plants/garden.
help clean the goldfish, help pair up clean socks.
I don’t believe in making them do anything but ask and encourage and feel as with everything else they will help when they are ready and because we all do it and thats whats expected from everyone to help out.
When i was a child i got a list of jobs when i came home from school and really resented it, clean the skirting boards, cook/heat up dinner, polish siverware, clean shoes, make next day lunches, hoover, dust etc i always felt it was too much.
When they are capable of doing something themselves easily i introduce it, like taking a plate to a kitchen or just recently they always like specific utensils at the table so if i have got the wrong one they need to go and get it themselves, they are now also starting to scrape their plates into the bin…can be messy
My daughter is 5. She has 5 jobs a week to do and earns 20p per job, she requested this and helped to draw up the list! She needs to make her bed each day (well make an atempt, i don’t expect too much for her, as long as she has tried); keep her room tidy (ha, tend to be flexible on this one a bit otherwise she would never earn it!); ensure her hampster has fresh water at least twice a week; then the last two jobs are cleaning the basins in the bathroom and downstairs toilet - 20p each (this was her request before anyone thinks I’m turning her into a slave!). She also has a job sticker chart (again her request) for any “extra” jobs she is asked to do. She is also expected to take her plate and bits tothe kitchen, washing in the laundry basket, lay the table on occassion, help tidy away things and she took on the shreding at the weekend! oh, and plus remind mummy of anything she has forgotten - thats the hard one!
Fortunately I have a 5 yo that likes to do rather than play and a 3 yo who can be very “proper”. Roles that have naturally emerged: setting places for dinner (this can be a bit wonky when 3yo does it, but that’s not to be discouraged), putting pjs back in massive sack that they keep them in (though this is usually because they have emptied contents over the floor ), tidying downstairs toys into basket before we leave the house (3 yo), ensuring all the bits of games or jigsaws are there and put away before another toy comes out (5yo as she can count!), they also put their clothes in the laundry basket in the bathroom as they get undressed for a bath, letting the chickens out in the morning.
Most of these have come out of imitation or a desire to get involved in family acitivities - however I do remind and am very firm about the toys/jigsaws downstairs being put away (I do tidy their bedroom more thoroughly at the end of the day as I do like a “place for everything” and I think it’s a bit beyond them to see what I mean by that at the mo, but I try to have them around so that they will take it on themselves) - I feel I spend a lot of money on good quality things which is something my parents never did and that it is really important to learn to look after possessions.
Thank you guys, I feel it is so important for the pixies to be a part of this family and to help out with the jobs around the house, especially as dh is disabled and isn’t always up to much there is a huge pressure on me. I obviously am not banging the floor with a stick getting them to do stuff but dd is always asking what job next, she loves the imitation of mummy and will often dress for the occasion lol. Ds I am less concerned about helping as his communication is not up to it yet, if her puts away of thing then I am happy
I also make the point of them helping with baking and dinner if I have enough patience
Ru’s 3 very soon, and DH and I feel like he needs to know that everyone plays a part in this family, so he does quite a lot…
He is expected to do the following;
- feeds the cats (takes the bowls to them and puts it down)
- puts his own breakfast stuff in the dishwasher
- helps fill the dishwasher after lunch and tea
- if he spills something, he mops it up
- puts his bath toys away
- puts his toys away, usually done before lunch and after evening bath
- puts books away
- clothes in the clothes bins
We always ask if he WANTS to help with any cooking and baking.
He also enjoys ‘helping’ to sweep and hoover, wipe cupboards, anything we’re doing really.
We think that at 3, he is perfectly capable of understanding that the mundane stuff like tidying simply HAS to be done to keep the house in a decent state, so we try and model his behaviour by giving him lots of opportunities to see DH and I cleaning and taking care of our home, and being happy about it! We’d like him to feel like they’re not ‘chores’ as such, (I hate that word, makes them sound so boring!) but simply little things that contribute valuably to *OUR* home.
And that’s the thing, it is OUR home, therefore we should ALL contribute towards it, no matter how little we are. We’re a family.
My 5 year old boy does have certain jobs he is expected to do each day, they are: put away his coat and shoes when he gets in, put his other clothes in laundry basket in the end of the day, empty and clean out his lunchbox after school. He also often sets the table for dinner and makes his packed lunch (i.e spreads his own sandwich etc) but these are more because he wants to. My 2.5 year old doesn’t really have any tasks but both of them are expected to out away their toys etc when they’ve fininshed, although this is very hit and miss. I feel that as a family we all need to pitch in, and my husband and I are not here to serve them, but to bring them up to be selfsufficent, capable men, and to do that I think they need to have certain ageappropriate responsibilities.
I’m reminded of something the Kabat-Zinn’s wrote in ‘Everyday Blessings: The Inner Work of Mindful Parenting’ (Probably my most treasured parenting book, next to Unconditional Parenting) - they said something about sitting down with their children every week and talking to them about what needed to be done and how everyone might contribute, giving each child the chance to choose and also opening up discussion about the importance of all helping. Obviously this was with kids who were able to communicate in this way, so were slightly older, but I really liked the idea.
I also liked their idea of not having pocket money related to everyday chores, just special ‘extra’ ones, so that the everyday ‘chores’ (euch, I know) were simply part of everyday living.
My daughter is not yet two so I’m not really dealing with this yet and I see both sides - wanting them to help out as part of the family but also not simply expecting them to do it because I ask them to, which is something I generally think can lead to a lot of resentment as people here have already said (I remember being very annoyed when I was simply expected to do something, but when I was invited to participate as a family activity, it was much more appealing, and knowing I had the option to say no also made me, unsurprisingly, more likely to say yes!)
I’ve noticed my 19 month old is very keen to imitate, and every time she does something to help, I make a point of stopping, really engaging and thanking her for helping me and for being kind, even explaining how it has helped. I notice how much she likes this. She has even started letting me change her nappies (sometimes) without much protestation, if I start by explaining to her why I need to do it and that I will be very quick, and then give her the option of choosing floor or couch etc. My DH has noticed how much of a difference this has made too.